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Why is the GCC’s access equipment sector a renter’s market?

by Fatima De La Cerna on Jul 16, 2017

Rapid Access recorded high levels of utilisation in 2016.
Rapid Access recorded high levels of utilisation in 2016.

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There’s no two ways about it: the GCC region is a renter’s market, as far as access equipment is concerned. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, it could be read as a sign of a maturing market, according to equipment suppliers.

Sharbel Kordahi, managing director of Terex Equipment Middle East, says that the last 18 months have witnessed rental companies enjoying high utilisation rates. These high rates, he adds, mean that the number of contractors and end-users who are opting to rent rather than buy is increasing.

“The natural progression of the access industry is leading to a more mature market with an increase in rental activities over equipment ownership, notably among contractors,” he tells Construction Week. “[The increase] is not only due to uncertainties in the market; it is also driven by the fact that contractors are beginning to see the advantages of renting machinery, including avoiding issues related to ownership, such as maintenance, transportation, documentation, and utilisation.”

Offering the same observation, Malcolm Early, vice president for marketing at Skyjack, and Alexis Potter, sales and marketing director of Rapid Access, stress the appeal of the rental model in terms of cost. Potter explains: “At a time when capital efficiency is a key driver in every business, it makes sense for customers to focus their finances on their core businesses.”

Meanwhile, Early points out: “The practice is for long hours of work and/or multi-shifts for the equipment in hard conditions involving heat and dust, and as such, the cost of ownership for a contractor rises and the [idea] of off-setting maintenance to rental companies becomes attractive.”

Rapid Access has reportedly been benefitting from the popularity of the rental model, with Potter noting: “Most contractors look to rent powered access equipment due to the specialist nature of the equipment and the wide range of tasks to be carried out at height.”

He adds: “2016 was an exceptional year for Rapid Access, with record levels of utilisation and machines on hire. 

“Powered access equipment is increasingly being recognised as the safest and most efficient way of carrying out a range of tasks at height.”

This year, Potter continues, started on a similarly positive note for the company, with the first half delivering regional utilisations that were 3% to 4% higher compared to the same period of 2016.

He further reveals that Rapid Access is seeing opportunities in transportation infrastructure, commercial projects, and oil and gas, among other sectors.

In keeping with growing demand in the rental market, Kordahi points out that Terex’s latest Genie models have been designed to perform a variety of indoor and outdoor tasks. “This is exactly the type of product rental firms are looking for to boost their returns on investment (ROIs), and adapt to their customers needs,” he says.

Going into detail, Kordahi notes that the Middle East is largely a boom market for Genie, owing to the dominance of its construction, and oil and gas sectors. 

“Productivity is a key focus, and the Genie Extra Capacity family of booms respond to this need by offering [capacities ranging] from 300kg to 454kg in the restricted zone,” he explains.

The manufacturer’s focus on capacity and versatility appears to be boosting its expectations from the Gulf market.