In its latest study of the $2.6 billion market for explosives, weapons and contraband (EWC) detection equipment, IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc., found recent political and economic events are causing extreme volatility in demand for cargo and vehicle (C&V) scanning equipment at the world’s ports and borders.
IMS Research estimates C&V sales to North America alone (this includes X-ray scanning equipment sold to the U.S. Department of Defense for subsequent deployment in the Middle East) fell by 20.9 percent to $178.0 million in 2011. The main cause for this decline was the disengagement of America’s armed forces from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bigger surprise however, was the sudden drop-off in activity from the Chinese market, particularly as China saw its physical trade volumes grow significantly in 2011. According to report author and IMS Research analyst Michael Arluck, “The most plausible explanation is that there is an overcapacity of scanning equipment at China’s ports and borders. This is to say that the local customs and trade officials may have ‘over-bought’ C&V equipment in previous years.”
Fortunately for industry suppliers, 2012 is shaping up to be a much better year. Based on recent order books, IMS Research is forecasting C&V sales to grow by 5.3 percent to $561.7 million through year end. “While the U.S. market remains slow, we are seeing strong growth from emerging economies in Latin America and Asia,” noted Arluck. “What a difference a year makes, especially in this business.”
The World Market for Explosives, Weapons, and Contraband Detection Equipment, now an annual publication, is in its fourth edition. The study is the most detailed and comprehensive of its kind, and is read by the leading decision makers in the marketplace.