Rock to Road

Canada remains top U.S. equipment importer

June 1, 2016  By  Andrew Macklin

June 1, 2016 – Exports of U.S.-made construction equipment declined 25 percent overall for first quarter 2016 compared to first quarter 2015 with a total $2.7 billion shipped to global markets.

Africa and South America experienced the sharpest declines, each down nearly 50 percent, while Central America exports were stable and Europe gained slightly, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), citing U.S. Department of Commerce data it uses in global market reports for members.

AEM is the North American-based international business group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry.

Exports by World Region


First quarter 2016 U.S. construction equipment exports by major world regions compared to first quarter 2015:

  • Canada dropped 28 per cent, for a total $1.1 billion
  • Europe gained 5 per cent, for a total $455 million
  • Central America fell 1 per cent, for a total $378 million
  • Asia decreased 37 per cent, for a total $290 million
  • South America declined 47 per cent, for a total $258 million
  • Australia/Oceania fell 10 per cent to $162 million
  • Africa declined 49 percent to $107 million 

AEM Market Analysis Overview

AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, provides some insights:

The 1st quarter of 2016 marked the 13th consecutive quarter that U.S. construction equipment exports experienced year-over-year declines. The continued downturn in exports is linked to the strong U.S. dollar, reducing our nation’s competitiveness by making U.S. equipment relatively more expensive. Overall, the construction industry is expected to continue to grow by 3.4 per cent globally in 2016, according to Business Monitor International; however, roughly half that growth is expected from the North American markets.

The most impactful decreases in exports could be found in the earthmoving equipment segment, which decreased roughly 35 per cent. While small, we did see increases in the lifting equipment segment, driven mostly by self-propelled aerial work platforms.

Looking at the individual countries, Belgium was up roughly 38 per cent, which might look surprising. The Port of Antwerp, though, serves as a pass-through for the European continent. Exports to Germany and the United Kingdom were also up; growth in Germany appears to have been driven by a boost in excavators and wheel loader exports and exports to the U.K. appear to be driven by an increase in self-propelled aerial work platforms.

Exports by Top 10 Countries

The top countries buying the most U.S.-made construction machinery during first quarter 2016 (by dollar volume) were:

  • Canada – $1.1 billion, down 28 per cent  
  • Mexico – $310 million, down .01 per cent
  • Australia – $148 million, down 10 per cent
  • Belgium – $101 million, up 38 per cent
  • Peru – $85 million, down 17 per cent
  • Germany – $74 million, up 58 per cent
  • Chile – $60 million, down 48 per cent
  • China – $49 million, down 31 per cent
  • United Kingdom – $47 million, up 8 per cent
  • South Africa – $40 million, down 65 per cent  

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