In 2000, the Eastern European market for heavy truck trailers was only a little bigger than that of France. However, by 2004 it was more than twice as big.
Many transport business are setting up shop in Eastern Europe to take advantage of the lower cost base. However, for international transport, they need modern haulage equipment, including the latest trailers.
The largest markets in order of size are Russia, Poland, and Turkey, with these three accounting for more than 60% of the region's demand. Poland in particular has witnessed the highest rate of growth. The market in Russia and Poland is now as large as the biggest West European markets with the exception of Germany.
It is assumed that a slowdown in Western European economies after 2010 will result in a slight fall in Eastern Europe at the same time. However, this will only be a temporary hiatus, and the eastern markets will be setting new records for vehicle demand by the middle of the next decade.
Gary Beecroft, director of CLEAR, said, “These markets will grow for a very long time. It took Spain 15 to 20 years to reach the level of trailer utilization seen in the rest of the EU when it joined. However, the growth in the future will be relatively modest compared to that seen from 2000 to 2006.”
The growth in Eastern Europe has resulted in a shortage of axles in the West, which will cap European production in 2007 as a direct result.