The forecast is for a solid recovery in the West European trailer market in 2014 in terms of economic data and new trailer demand of more than 10%, with several countries reaching 15%, according to consulting group CLEAR.

Furthermore, demand for road transport in Western Europe, measured in tonne-km, which has been falling since 2008, may at last stabilize. The average fall for the Big Seven economies is 20% since 2006.

Trailer parc (fleet size) is forecast to stabilize at the 2013 level.  It has been falling since 2009—something it had never done. The size of the parc had always increased every year even through recessions and slowdowns.

The forecast for new trailer demand is that it will almost match the level of 2006 by 2016.  It remains unlikely that the demand level of 2007-2008 will be seen again.

Figures for the trade in merchandised goods in the Big Seven countries have also stabilized and should grow in 2014.  This will flow through to the demand for road transport, resulting in an improvement in most countries in the coming 12 months.  Trailer demand, though down 9.5% in the first half of 2013, will be up 13.2% in the second half and up 0.8% for the year overall.

“Trailer production, having fallen by 9.8% from the 2011 level, will also have a double-digit increase in 2014,” said Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR. ♦