Bobcat has launched its 18 m reach T40180 telescopic handler in the Middle East at the Intermat Middle East exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE. According to the company’s regional director for the Middle East & Africa, Gaby Rhayem, telescopic handlers are a small but fast-growing segment in the region.
“The market [for telescopic handlers) is growing at 10% per year. The Middle East is focussed on excavators, loaders and skid steer loaders, but there is good growth in telehandlers and the market is now around 550 machines per year.
“We are moving the mentality of our customers in the middle east to more ‘fancy’ machines like telehandlers, mini excavators and tracked loaders,” he said.
According to Mr Rhayem, the versatility of telescopic handlers, with their ability to carry buckets, forks, access platforms and a range of other attachments is a key selling point, despite other comparable lifting equipment such as truck cranes being cheaper.
He was also cautiously optimistic about the outlook for construction and the construction equipment sector in the region.
“We have heard about a lot of good things, but we are not feeling them yet. Our dealers are optimistic. The announcement of the Dubai Expo 2020 along with the 2022 World Cup (in Qatar) will be a benefit. I don’t think the Expo 2020 will create a boom, but it will help,” he said.
Despite this growth in certain countries, Mr Rhayem said Saudi Arabia was the dominant market in the Middle East, accounting for about 60% of all construction equipment sales. However, he added that growth in the UAE and Qatar should be beneficial to restore more balance.
“When you have a country making up that much of your business it can be dangerous. If something happens, which can be an issue in the Middle East, you have a problem,” he said.