The market for construction equipment in the Middle East continues to ride high on rising demand.According to recent reports, demand for construction and material handling equipment in the Middle East is projected to grow by 11-12 per cent in 2012 on the back of improved consumer and investor confidence, healthy corporate profits and expanding industrial and construction sectors. Construction companies and clients are constantly sourcing more sophisticated products to increase efficiency in project execution.Oil and gas projectsStrong crude prices have prompted regional oil-producers to reinvest a big chunk of their crude revenues into their oil and gas projects, including capacity expansion and development of production, exploration, refining, gas liquefaction and petrochemicals. This offers good opportunities to the drilling and tunnelling equipment, which are currently in great demand.Infra thrustRevival of the global economy and rapid population growth are expected to drive the growth in construction activity in the GCC region, particularly in the infrastructure, commercial and industrial construction markets. This, in turn, is likely to support the growth of the equipment industry.Also, rapid economic and infrastructural developments are attracting foreign investment to the region, largely for the tourism, hospitality, retail and healthcare industries. The region has many projects in the pipeline including a metro and rail network, airport, a deep-water port, new roads and expansions, and several stadiums, apart from thousands of new hotel rooms.Local touchThe Middle East does not domestically produce a significant amount of its own construction equipment and is largely dependent on imports from the US, Japan, China, and European nations such as Italy, France and Sweden. The rapid growth of the region’s construction industry and its small domestic equipment manufacturing industry has attracted the investment of some of the world’s leading construction equipment manufacturers, including Volvo, Komatsu, Hitachi, LiuGong, Liebherr, Manitowoc, Tadano and Caterpillar. Similarly, in order to improve product supply and after sales service quality to clientele in the UAE, many firms from the US, China and Europe have established their distribution centres in the region. While the larger construction firms usually maintain their own equipment fleet, equipment rental services have also being booming over the past two decades.Emerging marketsSaudi Arabia: Increased construction activity has made Saudi Arabia the construction equipment hub in the GCC. The country is in the midst of a massive construction spree, a vast majority of which is being fuelled by the government’s thrust to improve infrastructure. The country has around $450 billion worth of projects in the pipeline and its equipment market is expected to touch US$ 4.1 billion by 2015.Qatar: Expected to spend $100 billion on infrastructure projects over the next four years, Qatar’s construction equipment requirements are mostly met through imports. Its equipment market is can be broadly classified into six categories: earthmoving, construction vehicles, material handling, concrete, road construction and other construction equipment. With a number of construction projects in the pipeline, the material handling equipment – the market’s largest category – is expected to record a CAGR of 16.34 per cent by 2015. The consumption value of the Qatari earthmoving equipment category demonstrated a CAGR of 18.50 per cent during the 2005-09 period. This is expected to increase in value at a CAGR of 15.46 per cent by 2015.The concrete equipment category valued US$ 42.3 million in 2009, and this is expected to reach to US$ 93.2 million by 2015.New developmentsAlgeco and Byrne Rental extend deal: Algeco, the storage and office rental firm, has extended its partnership with Dubai-based Byrne Equipment Rental to supply its products to Qatar. The two companies established a relationship in the UAE which saw Byrne Rental as the exclusive distributor of Algeco products to construction and other remote sites. These included the Batex range of quick erect warehousing structures, and the 4000KD series that are used as offices, accommodation, and medical facilities. They now intend to capture the growing building and industrial activity in the gas rich state.Volvo Group plans further push in the Middle East: AB Volvo, the Swedish builder of commercial vehicles, including trucks, buses and construction equipment is planning further growth in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as the UAE in 2012. The company’s sales in the Middle East are likely to rise 30 per cent by 2015 in all the manufacturer’s product ranges.Q-Fab sends new crawler drill to QNCC: The first Sandvik DX700 top-hammer crawler drill rig to be purchased by Qatar National Cement Company is working at Qatar’s largest limestone quarry, near Doha, using Sandvik drill bits, rods and shank adapters to bore to depths of 75 ft (22 m).The rig, drill bits and other equipment have been supplied by Sandvik’s distributor in Qatar, Q-Fab, which also has a maintenance contract with QNCC to keep the machine in service and repair.S Korea crane for Abu Dhabi nuclear project: Shinwoo Development is using a fleet of seven Liebherr tower cranes, including a newly-purchased Liebherr 1250 HC 40, to construct a plant for Samsung Electronics. On completion, the new crane will be shipped to Abu Dhabi for use in construction of a nuclear power plant. The new plant is being built at Asan by contractor Shinwoo Development, who purchased the crane from Gintex Korea, Liebherr’s distributor in South Korea.INTERMAT Middle East 2012INTERMAT Middle East has established itself as the regions new industry construction platform, and provides the exhibiting companies an access to buyers from across the Middle East, Africa and Asian sub-continent. The next international exhibition for machinery, materials and equipment for construction and infrastructure will be held in Abu Dhabi from October 8-10, 2012.INTERMAT Middle East, a JV between Comexposium and its partner Clarion Events Middle East, responds to the need for an event dedicated to construction materials and equipment for the fast growing markets of the Middle East.Hardware & Tools Expo Middle East 2012Hardware & Tools Middle East is a completely dedicated event for tools, hardware, materials and machinery. The event, this year, will be the 13th edition of the series and is organised by Epoc Messe Frankfurt. It will be held at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from May 08-10, 2012. The expo will also offer great business opportunities for the exhibitors and will serve as a stepping stone for local industries. Dedicated indoor demo area, which was launched last year, will be used for presentations and demonstrations of the highest quality. Additionally, new technologies in welding, cutting, drilling, soldering, grinding and molding will be showcased at the event. Organisers expect over 320 exhibitors and 6,500 visitors to attend the event this year.