It could be a long year. The U.S. material handling industry will experience a severe contraction throughout 2009 with a trough reached by mid-year, said the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) as it released its annual "State of the Industry" forecast at ProMat. That trough will then be followed by what is termed a "de-celerating decline" leading into 2010.
The report showed fairly solid gains in manufacturing activity in 2008 but projected retrenchment in 2009. MHIA forecasts that new orders will fall in 2009 by 18-20 percent and a recovery will begin in late 2010. Shipments will decline by 15 percent in 2009 and 3 percent in 2010. Domestic demand—defined as shipments plus imports less exports—will fall about 15 percent this year. Exports are forecasted to decline in 2009 and 2010 after a period of robust growth, MHIA said.