Skyscraper construction is lifting the Middle East’s elevator market

Skyscraper construction is one of the key factors impacting – and benefitting – the Middle East’s people-flow management firms, but in no way is it the only driver of growth in the sector

COMMENT, SPECIAL REPORTS, Business, Sectors, Azizi Developments, Elevator market, Elevator market in the Middle East, EMEA, Skyscraper construction

The Middle East has not relented in its quest to develop some of the world’s tallest towers, an ambition spurring other sectors in the region as well, including the elevator industry.

Azizi Developments’ recently announced skyscraper in Dubai will be the fifth-tallest in the world, the company’s chairman and founder, Mirwais Azizi, told Construction Week earlier this month (issue #690).

This news comes as Saudi Arabia and the UAE progress with construction works on what look set to become the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Saudi’s Jeddah Tower is set to be 1km in height, while Emaar’s Dubai Creek Tower might surpass this, although the skyscraper’s official height is yet to be announced.

Given the regional appetite for skyscrapers, it is entirely likely that the regional elevator market will see gains in 2018. The global elevator and escalator market is expected to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 8% from 2018 to 2022, according to a report by London-based research company, Technavio.

The agency revealed this month that Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region “accounted for the majority share of the elevator and escalator market” during 2017. Growth in the construction industry, and more specifically in the tall structures segment, will further spur development in the EMEA region in the next four years, the report said.

Mohamed Iqbal, Toshiba Elevator Middle East’s managing director for elevators and escalators, tells Construction Week (page 20) that the company has reaped these benefits of late: “Our performance in the GCC in 2017 was quite satisfactory, in terms of both volume and value of business, especially in the UAE.”

A key factor driving the industry’s growth at the moment is a spike in infrastructure development that can be seen across the region, especially in transport and residential sectors. And these developments are already encouraging elevator uptake in Saudi Arabia and in Egypt, one expert says.

“In the UAE, on the other hand, the main driver is commercial projects such as office buildings, hotels, and shopping malls,” says Alain Chemaly, chief executive officer of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Middle East.

Urbanisation is another trend that is driving the growth of the region’s people-flow management sector. Bas Degeling, new equipment business director for the Middle East and Africa at Kone, says the company expects to make many “exciting announcements” in 2018, adding that an increase in urbanisation could lead to growth opportunities in the GCC (page 22).

“The power of technology is changing all aspects of how things are done nowadays,” Degeling tells Construction Week.

Of course, with this rapid construction activity comes greater competition among suppliers, which in most cases, is a sign of a healthy market. But regardless of this, it is fair to say that all eyes will be on the Middle East’s elevator market this year – and in the years to come.

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