Bernd Holz (left), president of CECE, with former president Eric Lepine

Bernd Holz (left), president of CECE, with former president Eric Lepine

Bernd Holz, managing director of Ammann Verdichtung and Ammann sales director Europe (North), has taken up the presidency of CECE (the Committee for European Construction Equipment) on behalf of the Czech association SVSS.

Starting on 1 January, Holz has succeeded Eric Lepine of Caterpillar, who represented Belgian association Agoria. He served as president in 2014 and 2015.

The new CECE leadership team has been completed with Giampiero Biglia of CNH Industrial and Italy’s Unacea, who moves from second to first vice president, and Lars-Göran Andersson of Volvo CE and Sweden’s SACE, who was recently elected CECE second vice president.

Holz said, “The CECE priorities for the next term include the completion of the new engine exhaust emissions legislation in all its technical detail, as well as activities in the fields of outdoor noise regulation and machine safety standards, including the drafting of a new standard for machine visibility.”

CECE said it had groups of dedicated experts collecting and sharing their knowledge “to produce technical insights and contribute to an informed decision-making process at EU level”.

It said it was calling on EU legislators to conclude the engine emissions file for non-road mobile machinery very soon. CECE pointed out that 2015 had been the target date for a final agreement between the EU Parliament and EU Council, but that discussions were still ongoing. It said it was worried about a potential delay and called on the negotiators to stick to the original planning as closely as possible.

It added that the Stage V introduction dates were challenging for construction equipment manufacturers, and companies urgently needed a final document to facilitate the production of machines to comply with the new stage.

European engine emissions limits will soon be the strictest worldwide, it said.

Departing CECE president Lepine said, “The complexity on our production lines will only increase further, having to serve differently-regulated markets across the globe all at the same time.

“The re-alignment of limit values with the US would be a minimum condition to look out for in the coming years.”

CECE said that EU regulators should also ensure a level playing field in Europe, whether in the co-ordination and harmonisation of local requirements for low-emission zones, or in the enforcement of market surveillance, preventing non-compliant machines from entering the EU and distorting the market.

Thanking Lepine for his commitment in the past two years, Holz added, “CECE will continue its work to strengthen further the profile of the European construction equipment sector, reinforcing its communication towards EU policy makers and other stakeholders by describing and promoting the importance of the sector for the European economy and society at large.”

Skills development

One item of particular attention will be the issue of skills development and the availability of future engineers.

“Our sector needs well-skilled young professionals to conceive, design, manufacture and maintain the machines of tomorrow,” said Holz. “CECE members and manufacturers already undertake several activities at national level to illustrate the attractiveness of developing a career in the construction machinery and equipment industry.”

He added, “We will make an effort to put these initiatives in the spotlight and add a European dimension where relevant.”

According to CECE, the industry’s European outlook for 2016 is “moderately positive”, although it said industry was facing many uncertainties in the economic and political sphere which made it difficult to predict developments with a degree of certainty beyond the next six months.

“The current forecast, based on CECE statistics, is for the market to remain flat in 2016 compared to 2015,” said Holz. “The divergences in Europe will further diminish, but remain relatively large, with a gap between the northern and southern European markets.

“We expect the French market to improve somewhat, bouncing back from a very weak performance in recent times. The German and UK markets are at high levels historically and cannot be expected to keep growing at the same pace.”

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