Second in the Queue
Would regulatory reform help bring the latest PMV tech to the region?
This is an exciting time of the year for the PMV industry. With events season upon us, a plethora of new products is about to hit the market.
However, there is a noticeable disparity between the PMV equipment destined for the North American and European markets, and that to be supplied within the Middle East. Don’t get me wrong, there are excellent products on offer across this region, but many of them are the West’s hand-me-downs.
When I ask original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) about the products that they intend to bring to the market, they frequently distinguish between those to be sold in ‘regulated’ and ‘unregulated’ regions; the former being North America and Europe, and the latter – seemingly – the rest of the world. The Middle East is usually second in the queue.
Of course, every region is regulated to some degree, but it is certainly true that from a design perspective, OEMs have to work harder and smarter to deliver equipment that conforms to the legal requirements of North America and Europe than they do for other markets.
One example of this trend is the recent launch of Volvo Trucks’ new range for the MENA region, which took place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit [page 50]. The Swedish manufacturer has redesigned its regional offering from the ground up, with overhauled versions of the FH, FM, and FMX. However, whilst the European equivalents – launched in 2013 – are equipped with brand new Euro 6 engines, the Middle East versions are fitted with their Euro 3 ancestors.
What’s more, the decision as to which engine to include in the MENA range lay completely outside of Volvo’s control. The manufacturer cannot offer Euro 6 engines in this region because the general standard of fuel is too poor.
Another example is offered by an interview that featured in last month’s issue of PMV, in which CIFA’s Marco Scuratti discussed the varying approaches that the Italian concrete equipment manufacturer takes to different markets.
Essentially, whilst CIFA researchers are busy finding new ways to offer maximum performance within the strict weight limits enforced on European roads, the firm is simultaneously working to develop heavier-duty machinery to meet demand in the Middle East where no weight limits apply. Paradoxically, Scuratti explained that customers in the Middle East require heavy-duty equipment to cope with the poor-quality road surfaces that have resulted from a dearth of weight limitations.
I appreciate that the words ‘regulatory reform’ are often associated with increased costs, but the relevant research is already taking place. Moreover, it will continue to take place whether or not the Middle East chooses to regulate. Not only would stricter regulations benefit local infrastructure and the environment, but they would also encourage the latest technology to find its way to the region much sooner than it does at present.
I concede that there are no simple solutions. What to do about the MENA region’s inferior-quality fuel, for example, is above my pay grade. But then, that’s exactly my point. If governments regulate, greater minds than mine will think of new and ingenious ways to deliver equally effective equipment that conforms to the new standards. Regulation stimulates innovation.