European materials handling production value decreased by 6.8 per cent at just under €56bn in 2013, according to figures from FEM, the European Materials Handling Federation.
It said the fall was due to the combined effect of a low domestic demand and stagnating exports.
While production of equipment lost five per cent, repair and maintenance lost 13 per cent. With an overall total of nearly €56bn, the production value is back at its 2005 level. Domestic demand recorded a substantial decline of -12 per cent at €29bn, only three quarters of its 2005 level.
Exports from Europe stagnated at €22.9bn. FEM said European manufacturers are getting closer to doing the majority of their business outside Europe.
Imports grew by 6.5 per cent at €4.9bn. External competitors are thus gaining a little more market share though the trade balance is stable and still largely positive (+€18bn).
Olivier Janin, FEM secretary general said: “The share of exports in our production value means that our manufacturers compete more and more on external markets. Their competitiveness is therefore crucial and a big part of it comes from their ability to innovate. European policies ought not to limit but to foster such an ability so as to safeguard industrial manufacturing in Europe.”