The nation's material handling industry has come off the ugly bottom of late 2008 and 2009, according to industry association the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA).
A survey of material handling equipment manufacturers, released today at MHIA's ProMat 2011 show in Chicago, forecasts that new orders will rise between 11 and 12 percent this year and next. Shipments are projected to grow by the same amount over that two-year interval, MHIA said.
In 2010, new orders grew by 18 percent and shipments increased by between 6 to 7 percent, the report said.
MHIA forecasts that domestic demand—domestic and import shipments minus export shipments—will grow between 11 and 12 percent in 2011. Domestic demand rose between 3 to 4 percent in 2010, MHIA said. Export demand will exceed import demand in 2011, the report predicted.
The 2010 data and the projections for the next two years are a far cry from the latter half of 2008 and most of 2009, when the financial crisis and subsequent downturn essentially froze demand for orders and shipments. At its low point in 2008, new orders and shipments had declined by more than 30 percent just from the start of 2008. The industry spent virtually all of 2009 and most of 2010 digging itself out of the hole.