Canadians flock to CONEXPO-CON/AGG - New optimism for the Canadian market
By Andrew Macklin
Walking the halls of CONEXPO-CON/AGG this past March, one fact became abundantly clear: Canadians flocked to this year’s show.
Walking the halls of CONEXPO-CON/AGG this past March, one fact became abundantly clear: Canadians flocked to this year’s show. Canadian representatives for equipment manufacturers found themselves busier than expected as they spoke with the thousands of Canadian contractors who attended CONEXPO-CON/AGG. And, while there are no official numbers as of yet, many of the Canadian reps we spoke to said they’d never seen so many Canadians at the show –many of whom were making serious inquiries about purchasing new equipment.
This was welcome news for equipment manufacturers who had seen the statistics a few weeks prior, showing a sharp decline in machine exports from the U.S. to Canada in 2013. The 16 per cent decline in 2013 to $6.8 billion in equipment exports still puts Canada far ahead of the second largest importer, Mexico, which imported $1.8 billion in American construction machinery in the same year. But the news of the decline in Canadian manufacturing sales was troubling, and clearly made some equipment manufacturers nervous about investing in Canada.
But sales leads from CONEXPO-CON/AGG aren’t the only reason for optimism, as there are other clear signs that Canada has plenty of room for growth for equipment manufacturers. The recent announcement of the renewed Building Canada plan, legislated from the federal government, has given reason again for aggregate producers to appreciate the continuing demand that will be placed on their products. Provincial governments are coming out with major infrastructure announcements as well, with Manitoba’s recent investments as the most telling example. There is also a sense of belief that Ontario and Quebec could see strong financial commitments to infrastructure despite times of political tumult in both provinces.
Because of the growing optimism about the future of the Canadian market, we are seeing more and more international companies looking to establish a presence here. A few months ago we saw SDLG, a subsidiary of Volvo, sell its first wheel loader in Canada. Speaking with Volvo Chairman Martin Weissburg commented at CONEXPO-CON/AGG that the company is very happy with SDLG’s presence in the Canadian market and sees definite room for growth here. There is also a push from some European crushing, screening and conveyor companies to move on to Canadian soil, with CDE Global, Telestack and Edge Innovate leading the move to establish a strong North American presence.
Clearly, there is reason for equipment manufacturers throughout the global aggregates and roadbuilding industry to get excited about Canada. That can only be good news for Canadian contractors, who will now have the most comprehensive choice of equipment available to meet the needs of their individual operation than has ever been available before.
Be sure to check out part one of our look back at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014, where we show you the newest products, technologies and innovations coming to Canada. And be sure to visit rocktoroad.com for up-to-date information on corporate investments in the Canadian market.