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New economic forecasting service is a fresh bonus for BITA members

BITA, the British Industrial Truck Association, used the occasion of its 2008 AGM on 9 May to unveil an exclusive new economic forecasting service for its members.

Taking the form of a 30-page 'Forklift Market' report, distributed to BITA members at the AGM, the new service examines likely short- and medium-term developments in the industrial truck market, based on observed trends and predictions for the global economy as a whole.

The economic forecast has been provided by Oxford Economics, whose high-quality quantitative analysis and practical, evidence-based advice already helps businesses, governments and international organisations make confident decisions about tactics, strategy and policy.

BITA's exclusive new economic forecast will complement its existing and unique provision of UK industrial truck sales statistics, which are contributed by – and only made available to – members of BITA's Truck Suppliers Group and Components & Services Group.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA comments: “In a current market setting increasingly characterised by uncertainty and turbulence, it's vital for businesses to have the best possible perspective on likely economic developments. While BITA members already have exclusive access to BITA's unique UK sales statistics, the additional benefit of our new economic forecasting service will surely add confidence and perspicacity to our members' business decisions.”

Highlights of the forecast

Oxford Economics predicts a 3% downturn of orders in 2008, stability in 2009 from 2008, and a subsequent increase of approximately 3.5% year on year, in terms of units, until 2012 — figures that align with BITA's own summations.

Frank Hopper, chair of BITA's Statistics Committee, comments: “Oxford Economics sees a small decline for counterbalanced trucks in 2008, which BITA would expect to result from a fall in electric powered models, with internal combustion (i/c) engine powered truck sales remaining fairly static.

“Historically the electric counterbalanced market over the last 10 years has stayed roughly between 5,000 and 6,000 units annually, whilst over a similar period, the i/c engine counterbalanced segment has varied between 9,000 and 12,000 units.

“Oxford Economics also forecasts warehouse products to decline by around 4% in 2008 but then to rise by similar percentages in the next two years. The market for rider warehouse products, of which 60% are reach trucks, has fallen by over 12% from a peak mid 2005 whilst over a similar period pedestrian warehouse trucks, of which 60% are transporters, have fallen by only 5%. Pedestrian products make up 60% of the warehouse sector and therefore have a far greater influence on market trends than rider products.”

BITA elects new President and Board

The 2008 BITA AGM also saw the election of a new BITA Management Board, with Richard Close, CEO of Briggs Equipment, assuming the BITA Presidency from Brendon Sparks, Director of Nissan's Industrial Machinery Division (who is retiring from the industry at the end of May).

He commented: “I am very pleased to take up the challenge of leading BITA. It's a turbulent economic time at the moment and we will be looking for new ways in which we can offer BITA members guidance and support during 2008 and 2009. Health and safety, and our ethos of raising industry standards, continue as top priorities, and we will be seeking new ways in which to achieve those aims in tangible ways.

“Our new economic foresting service is just one example of the value-added gains that members of BITA enjoy, as well as a supportive and professional trade association which in a position to influence and improve the industry. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brendon, plus the rest of the BITA board members and staff, for maintaining such an efficient and well-respected organisation.”

Brendon Sparks commented: “I am delighted to hand over the Presidency to such a capable and committed individual as Richard Close and I wish him well. I am sure that under his leadership, and with a complete board behind him, we will see BITA continue to deliver ever-higher levels of service and support.”

Following Brendon's retirement, a new Truck Suppliers Group (TSG) Director will be elected by that membership in due course.

The new BITA board is comprised as follows:

Richard Close (Briggs): President, Development & Member Services

Tim Waples (Doosan): Vice President, Communications and IMHE Director

Tom McLoy (Still): TSG Chairman, statistics and Technical Policy
Committee (TPC) liaison

Tony Wheeler (REMA): Component Suppliers Group (CSG) Chairman

Derek Rice (Electrofit Zapi): TPC Chairman

David Rowell (Hyster): FEM/BMHF Representative

Brian Tyrer (Pyroban): IMHE Director and CFTS Director

Steve Hodkinson (Toyota Material Handling): Finance Director, BITA and CFTS Director

James Clark: Secretary-General and IMHE Director

Additionally, BITA members raised just under £4,000 at the AGM and subsequent evening ball, to be split equally between Macmillan Cancer Support and Claire House Hospice (www.claire-house.org.uk).

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