The uneven world today

Published 24/4 at 09:33

The world these days behaves a little strangely and unevenly, one could say. When the global pandemic broke out in 2020, everything slowed down for a few months, at least in Europe.

The market plunged sharply and then recovered strongly thanks to government support packages in Europe and North America. The pandemic years would then turn out to be highly favourable for many players in the market. The cold air from the open door began to come in when the war in Ukraine started and the world was hit by a recession, in the main caused by an energy crisis.

In my own home country of Sweden, the construction market has been running like a train during the second half of 2020, all of 2021 and most of 2022. Most contractors who work within concrete cutting, demolition, remediation, grinding and polishing of concrete floors have generally experienced full order books. But as soon as the New Year began, there was a different sound to be heard. Many construction projects have been slowed down or put on hold. The demand for new housing has decreased sharply and several construction companies have decided to stop ongoing or new projects. Large government projects, however, are rolling along unchanged or even more extensively than was initially planned.

So, the contractors working on large government infrastructure projects have plenty of work for a good while to come, but many of the smaller projects have been throttled. This is a development that we are seeing all over Europe and not just in Sweden. Many contractors involved in demolition, concrete cutting and similar projects, now have to rely on an increase in renovation and rebuilding projects. This is something that always becomes an option when we are in a recession. Construction companies that mainly work within new construction are having a tough time in Sweden and bankruptcies have already started to increase.

This situation naturally affects the ability, and also the interest, to invest in new machines and equipment, which leads to reduced sales. This year, many trade shows are coming back in full force after being postponed for some years due to the pandemic. It will be interesting to read the outcome of, for example, the SaMoTer show that will be held in Verona at the beginning of May, and how the global situation affects the market in Europe.

A recent trade show that PDi Magazine attended and covered is ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas, USA. The show was a complete success and became the largest edition of the tradeshow ever. The North American market is in a better condition and in a different situation than Europe. Inflation has already started to show signs of coming down and there is widespread optimism. I recently visited Brazil, and the fact is that even here there is an intensive rearmament of the country with many extensive projects run by both the state and private actors. An example is a massive bridge project between Brazil and Paraguay in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, which is being financed by the Iguaçu Hydroelectric Consortium, Itaipo.

In this issue of PDi you will find a number of examples that give a cause for optimism despite tough times in many parts of the world. You can read several special features about new demolition machines, new mobile recycling plants, new hydraulic breakers and drum cutters. We are also publishing a large report about the ConExpo-Con/Agg fair.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Jan Hermansson

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