The recession in the Italian building industry shows no sign of ending, according to the annual assembly of Italian construction equipment trade association Unacea.
These great difficulties in the Italian market and renewed efforts to penetrate foreign markets were identified as the two current major traits of the Italian construction equipment industry.
On the basis of the construction equipment outlook put together by Unacea and research institute Prometeia, the recession in the building industry is not going to finish yet, having recorded a drop of 4.1% in 2013.
And it was said to be even worse for civil engineering, with a decline of 6%.
The forecast for 2014 suggested a further fall of 1.8% for building investments as a whole.
The decrease in Italian construction equipment exports is also particularly severe, with a substantially unchanged rate in January and February losing more than 12 percentage points, ending at €523 million for the first quarter.
Looking at the sub-sectors, there were decreases in the export of road machines (-29.5%), earth moving machines (-26%), and concrete equipment (-4.3%). This contrasts with increases in the exports of tower cranes (+11.1%), drilling equipment (+3.9%), and crushing and screening equipment (+8%).
With regard to the destinations of Italian exports, Western Europe remains in first place, but at -23.6% compared with the first quarter of 2012. This is followed by East Europe and Turkey (-26.9%), Asia (-26.6%), North America (+18.8%), Latin America (+47.4%), Africa (+17.7%) and Australia (+13.1%).
Production is put at about €2.7 billion in 2012 in a survey conducted by Unacea of a sample of companies. It forecast a static result for the end of the year.
Enrico Santini, president of Unacea, said, "By now, the rate of exported turnover in our sector exceeds, on average, 71%, with peaks of 90%. After the halving of Italian turnover in 2009, we work on reduced volumes due the fall of the Italian market. The lack of growth policies and the absence of specific measures for construction equipment are risking destroying an industry that was in the first positions in Europe till some years ago.”
Among the major measures demanded by Unacea to sustain the construction equipment sector is the setting up of a register for all the construction machines as an instrument to establish the position, features, property and obsolescence rate of these vehicles during their lifecycle. It said this would support the public authorities in market surveillance and the police in the fight against thefts.
It added that this would also allow the introduction of specific local measures to protect the environment and assure safety.
Moreover, Unacea supports the introduction of a rewards system in public tender notices for contractors which use the latest generation of machines which are more efficient, safer and more eco-friendly.