Although British manufacturing companies traditionally lag behind industrial heavyweights from the United States, China, Japan and Germany, they are doing quite well in the construction equipment machinery sector. In fact, J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited is the world's third largest construction equipment and machinery manufacturing company, ranked just behind Caterpillar and Komatsu!
More importantly though, British manufacturers are performing admirably well in the local market. In fact, in the first quarter of 2017, exports of construction machinery - such as excavators, tractors, deep foundation machines, tower cranes, truck mixers and bulldozers - grew by 13% to £700m, while imports amounted to just £388 million - a trade surplus of £312 million. When extrapolated for the whole 2017, the country may be looking at a £1.2 billion surplus. The three primary destinations of British exports, accounting 40% of the total, are U.S., Germany and Republic of Ireland.
While the size of UK's wholesale market of construction machinery and supplies (small equipment, cement, timber, paint, metal, glass, etc.) amounts to a staggering £29 billion, there is also a sizable market for construction equipment rental and leasing - £6 billion. The low entry cost, short-term commitment, and practically zero maintenance cost make leasing an attractive option for small and medium-sized construction companies.
Regionally, South East England accounts for a significant share of the market, with 15.2%, while London trails behind at 10%.
Nevertheless, despite the sector's strong resilience over the past five years, both the wholesale and leasing sectors are bracing themselves for a downturn owing to the likely economic uncertainty brought about by Brexit. However, the falling pound will make British products cheaper outside the country, giving them a long overdue competitive advantage, so increase in exports might mitigate any anticipated shortfall from the local market. That said, exports to EU may attract import tariffs at destination countries.