The number of forwarders registered in 2013 ended up at a record low. As few machines were registered last year as in the crisis year of 2009. The market shrank by 23 percent, or almost a quarter, compared with 2012. But many people are now seeing signs that a brighter future is on the horizon.
Komatsu and Gremo are the only companies that did not have fewer registered machines in 2013 than in 2012.Komatsu thereby increased its market share to 24.5 percent. All other manufacturers lost market share. Ponsse experienced the biggest decline, with a drop to 10.9 percent.
The manufacturers say that the decline had already begun in the autumn of 2012 with a fall in orders but this first became visible at the beginning of 2013 when their machines were delivered and registered. After Elmia Wood 2013 registrations increased for a few months but then declined again to the crisis levels.
“This is the lowest registration number we’ve measured in the nine years we’ve been compiling registration statistics for forwarders. The total is one machine less than in the crisis year of 2009,” says Torbjörn Johnsen, Marketing Director at Elmia.
Komatsu, which defied the trend and retained its sales level, launched its new Comfort Ride cab suspension last year, an option with widespread appeal.
“Nine of ten forwarders sold in Sweden are equipped with Comfort Ride,” explains Peter Hasselryd, Sales Manager for Komatsu Forest in Sweden. “We also launched a totally new complete forwarderprogramme during the year and we upgraded the engines for lower fuel consumption, which in turn leads to considerably better fuel economy.”
He adds that Elmia Wood had a direct and visible impact on Komatsu’s sales:
“Yes, we were extremely pleased. It was especially in the second half of the year that we had orders and deliveries. This trend continued all autumn.”
He also believes that the future will see more of the same.
“I believe we have the bottom behind us now. There’s no doubt that 2014 will be a better year.”
Rolf Andersson, CEO of Rottne Industri AB, shares this belief in improved sales this year.
“The overall economic situation for both pulp and sawn timber has been very depressed and that leads to lower investments in both forwarders and harvesters,” he says. “Things are now looking brighter and if the forest industry can pick up a bit of momentum then it’s also easier to invest.”
Ponsse is also noticing increased interest.
“The order situation is much better now than this time last year,” says Eero Lukkarinen, Managing Director, Ponsse AB Sweden.
He points to the uncertain situation for contractors as a factor that caused the lull in forwarder sales in 2013.
“The forestry companies have short contracts, which leads to delayed investments,” he says. “But now we’re seeing that things are starting to move in the market for used machines, and then sales of new machines also tend to follow along and increase. We’re seeing a clear demand both in Sweden and abroad, so we hope that 2014 will be better.”