ConTech/ConLife: Russian construction industry puts its hopes on 2018

The trends of the previous year continued into this year’s ConTech/ConLife trade show and symposium: reticence among the Western European and US American suppliers of the concrete and precast concrete industry; an increasing number of exhibitors from China, Turkey and Russia.

This development was due primarily to the Western sanctions, the unfavorable euro-to-ruble and dollar-to-ruble exchange rates, which are back to around 1:70 and 1:60, respectively, and the ongoing economic crisis in Russia – for the time being, public and private investors continue to hold back on construction projects.

The positive growth forecast for the entire Russian economy and for the entire year announced by the Russian government in the third quarter of this year seems to contradict this crisis scenario. It anticipates an increase in the gross domestic product of 2% for 2017. Experts assume that the slight upturn will then also be noticeable in the construction industry in the coming year 2018 (see VIDEO below).

Mixer manufacturers represented in large numbers

The manufacturers of mixers and mixing plants were again strongly represented at the Moscow trade show this year. This is not surprising as they frequently offer their machines not only to the concrete and precast concrete industry but also to the manufacturers of sand-lime blocks and dry mortar – target audiences addressed by the ConTech/ConLife trade show and symposium in addition to the concrete and precast concrete industry. The companies represented with stands at this year’s trade show included Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich, Rapid International, BHS Sonthofen, the Russian manufacturers TensoTechServis and Simem, as well as the Turkish companies Meka and Elkon. Representatives of other well-known international mixer manufacturers stopped by as visitors.

The Western European manufacturers of machines and plants for the production of precast concrete elements were represented at the trade show in significantly smaller numbers. Trading and consulting firm Anton Olert represented both the German manufacturer Weckenmann and Nordimpianti, the Italian manufacturer of equipment for the production of prestressed concrete. Marcantonini and Bianchi Casseforme from Italy, as well as Hawkeye Pedershaab from the United States were represented with their own stands.

Successful symposium

“As a matter of fact, the number of Chinese exhibitors has grown considerably this year,” said Eduard Bolshakov, organizer of the trade show and symposium, in an interview with the BFT International trade journal (see VIDEO below). As it is likely that construction activities in Russia will pick up again as early as 2018, the Western European and US American companies are well advised, however, to also be present in the market and to invest more in their marketing activities.

Regardless of the market situation, the accompanying symposium is a regular success, and this year was no exception to the rule: researchers from Russia, China, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany and other countries gave a total of 60 lectures on topics related to research and building practice. Organizer
AlitInform reported the number of participants to amount to 175 from 15 countries. Professor Christian Thienel from the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich, Germany, presented the audience with examples of buildings in lightweight concrete design that were a success from both an engineering and architectural viewpoint. Professor Frank Dehn from the University of Leipzig gave a speech on “Current and future developments in concrete engineering.”

Text: Christian Jahn, M. A.