The good news is that Russian manufacturers of precast elements and concrete products appear to have largely come to terms with current exchange rates. The unfavorable ruble vs. US dollar (1:56.6 as of 1 June 2017) and ruble vs. euro (1:63.5 as of 1 June 2017) rates have become much less important and no longer make companies shy away from purchasing relatively expensive production equipment imported from Western Europe or the United States. But what should manufacturers do anyway? Their equipment is ageing slowly but constantly and must be repaired or replaced at some point in time.
The capacity of domestic Russian producers to meet existing demand is rather limited. Even though the government has declared it a primary objective to develop independent Russian industries, and despite the fact that some sectors are being heavily promoted, the quality standard of supplier products manufactured in Russia is not yet high enough in many cases, which is why these products cannot (yet) replace equipment imported from Western Europe or the United States. Representatives of the Russian precast industry were very frank and open about this situation in an interview with BFT International.
The bad news is that there is often still a shortage of funds for capital expenditure. Private-sector entities, in particular, are currently facing enormous difficulties when trying to borrow money at commercially viable terms.
557 exhibitors from 30 countries
Against this backdrop, the CTT 2017 (Stroitelnaya tekhnika i tekhnologii, Construction Equipment and Technologies) trade show was held from 30 May to 3 June 2017 at the Crocus Exhibition Grounds close to the MKAD (Moscow City Highway). According to the organizer, Messe Muenchen, 557 exhibitors from 30 countries showcased their products and services on a total exhibition space of about 61,000 m2. The number of exhibitors thus grew by 6.3 % compared to the previous year.
The following countries were represented by the largest numbers of exhibitors, in exactly this sequence: Russia, China, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Finland, Korea, Czech Republic, Belarus, and Spain. In addition, China, Germany, Italy and Finland each set up a national booth to represent the entire country.
According to Messe Muenchen, over 20,000 industry visitors from 56 countries and regions attended the trade show.
Varying assessments of the state of the industry
At the trade show, suppliers to the precast and concrete products industries, most of which exhibited their products in Pavilion 3, Hall 13, came up with widely varying assessments of the state of the industry. In structural precast as well as pipes and manholes, opinions ranged from “we have left the trough behind, and demand is slowly picking up again” to “I really doubt if we will participate in the next edition of this event”.
In the concrete products sector, assessments were more consistent and positive since several manufacturers of equipment for the production of concrete pavers and curbs stated that trade visitors were again getting much more interested in specific offers. Some exhibitors also claimed to have sold a limited number of machines or production lines recently.
All exhibitors from the supplier industry were in agreement that the potential of the Russian and CIS markets continued to be huge, and should not be neglected. This is why the majority of exhibitors said that they were intent on at least attending the next CTT edition to “show their colors”, as it were.
Presentations on a wide range of topics
This year’s edition of the trade show featured a program that included 15 seminars, workshops and panels dedicated to construction professionals. Topics included, for example, road construction and the construction of airports in Russia.
Many national administrative bodies and associations officially supported the trade show, such as the Committee for Transportation and Construction of the Russian Parliament, the Ministry of Construction, the Association of Russian Construction Contractors, and the Association of Engineers.
The next CTT event will be held from 5 to 8 June 2018 in Moscow.
Text: Christian Jahn, M. A.