Easternpromise Associations

08 May 2008

Rizanur Meral is president of Imder

Rizanur Meral is president of Imder

Just one glance around Istanbul's crane filled skyline is all youneed to tell you that construction in Turkey is booming and IMDER presidentRizanur Meral believes that prospects for the country's construction equipment market are good too.

According to Mr Meral, the Turkish construction equipment sector experienced +99% growth in 2004 as the market bounced back from the country's economic crisis of 2001 and 2002. “Growth is likely to be slower this year at +20% and this rate is expected to continue into 2006, although it is dependent on continued political stability in Turkey,” he said.

IMDER is Turkey's first construction equipment association and was launched in April 2002 in the middle the country's economic depression. It aims to provide the industry with a forum for discussion and a political voice to influence the direction of new government policies. “The association now has 16 members representing 94% of the Turkish equipment market by volume,” said Mr Meral.

Turkey's equipment market is quite small compared to both its geographical area and the size of its building industry. Just 5275 units were sold last year, but equipment in Turkey is generally used for longer than in Europe. In the past it was typical for machines to be used for 30 years but the age of machines has now fallen to 15 to 20 years, although this is still some way behind the European average of seven years.

Almost 40% of machines sold in Turkey last year where backhoe loaders and were closely followed by excavators which represent a 33% share. “Construction equipment is a big investment and Turkish contractors want machines that can be fitted with a variety of attachments for use in as many applications as possible,” said Mr Meral.

“The Turkish government is keen to adopt European standards in almost every area of life but some European rules on safety for construction equipment are too tight for Turkey and hi-tech safety features add significantly to the cost a new machine. IMDER is working with the government to develop standards which are appropriate to Turkey now and phase in other standards as the country's economic situation improves,” he said.

“For instance, most contractors in Turkey are not really concerned about noise attenuation and we want the government to hold off introducing such regulations in the short term. But IMDER feels that minimising emissions is important and legislation to govern this needs to be develop now. Machines manufactured in Asia tend to be cheaper so are more attractive to Turkish contractors but are generally not as clean as European machines.”

Turkey is split between Europe and Asia and has been an associate member of the European Union since 1964. But full membership has not yet been realised, partly because many member states object to Turkey joining the EU because only a small proportion of the country is in Europe. The nation itself is also split on whether the country should take up full membership but IMDER believes that it could benefit the construction equipment industry in Turkey.

“EU membership would attract investment and give Turkey's equipment market the kind momentum seen in Spain since it joined in 1986,” explained Mr Meral. “Potential for Turkey's market to double already exists but EU membership would speed up the process.” IMDER is also looking to become a member of CECE as Mr Meral says it would give the association “a better view of developments in Europe and a chance to share best practice”.

The association's discussions on legislation with the Turkish government are ongoing but it is also trying to develop better levels of operator training and ethics within the industry. “There is no legal requirement to check that operators are qualified for the job but we are encouraging contractors to carry out checks,” said Meral. “We are also trying to establish better business ethics among our members.”iC

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