A modular bridge is designed to carry the weight of vehicles and pedestrians, among others. The component parts of modular bridges are readily available, and are lighter in weight, easy to transport, and require low services, further reducing the overall maintenance costs. With increasing construction activities, particularly in developing countries, modular bridges are extensively used in the construction of flyovers, railways bridges, or in construction sites as temporary bridges for the ease of transport of machinery, vehicles, and workers. They are also used during natural calamities as temporary bridges to connect places. The modular bridges market was valued at USD 8,236.6 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 11,449.50 million by 2027 with a CAGR of 6.5%.
Thriving Marine Industry to Push the Demand for Modular Bridges
The International shipping industry accounts for around 90% of world trade. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) anticipates that the operation of merchant ships contributes roughly USD 380,000 million in freight rates in the global economy, which accounts for 5% of the total world trade. In light of the growing world population, the emerging economies are projected to witness robust demand for raw materials and goods, further necessitating transportation via ships and trains. As per the OECD reports, the contract for new ships rose significantly in 2017, after a duration of relatively low ordering activity in 2016. In 2017, the total contracts were approximately 80% higher than that of 2016, where monthly new contracts were below 2 million CGT, and the quarterly average was 3.5 million CGT.
As per the Observatory of Economic Complexity, the top exporters of passenger and cargo ships include South Korea, China, and the Philippines, altogether amounting to USD 27,900 million. Modular bridges are used for private docks, loading, and unloading for industrial uses, among other applications. Economies such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia are flourishing owing to the burgeoning number of tourist visits, further compelling the governments to heavily invest in transport and accommodation. For instance, a total of 18.5 million tourists visited Singapore in 2018, which is 1.1 million more as compared to the numbers in 2017.
As per the World Economic Outlook Report by IMF, Indonesia's GDP growth increased by 5.5% in 2019, underpinned by a pickup in the infrastructure activity. Similarly, the Philippines is witnessing robust investments in infrastructure projects. Such developments in Southeast Asian countries are expected to fuel the market growth.
Volatility in the Global Economy Hampers the Market Growth
The U.S.-China trade war has compelled China to resort to methods such as lowering the price and dumping the goods and commodities in other economies such as Canada, India, Mexico, and Brazil. Chinese products, such as steel and cement, were sold at a much lower rate, which affected the domestic steel and cement industries of other nations. Similarly, Brexit came into effect in February, which separated one of the leading trade partners in the European Union (EU) from the EU. This will mean a considerable slowdown for the British economy before it gains ground. However, economies such as France and Germany will be benefitting from the exit.
The trade war and the Brexit scenario made it clear that the global economy was moving towards protectionism and recession; however, it was not predicted to be as severe as the 2008 recession. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has put several restraints on the global economy, bringing international trade to a standstill. International borders have been sealed, and various economies have announced nationwide curfews and lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic has created a blip in the global economy and is expected to hamper the market growth.
Massive Steel Production in Asia-Pacific to Support Growth of the Global Modular Bridges Market
Asia-Pacific is not only the biggest but also one of the most diverse regions in terms of land area and population. The region’s economic outlook continues to be strong and dynamic as it comprises economies that are emerging as key manufacturing hubs, with the abundant availability of natural resources and cheap labor. As per the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UNESCAP), the region attracted around 45% of the global foreign direct investment (FDI) and accounted for about 52% of the global FDI outflows in 2018. India and China are the two growth engines for the regional market growth.
In April 2020, China's motor vehicle sales recorded 2,069,962 units as compared to 1,430,217 units in the previous month. As per the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the sale of motor vehicles reached an all-time high of 3,060,271 units in December 2017. China is one of the foremost automotive markets in the world, accounting for 45% of the electric vehicles on the road, which is about 2.3 million cars. Thus, the rapidly expanding automobile industry is projected to boost the transportation activities in the region, further driving the demand modular bridges.
Modular bridges are used extensively in the construction industry, and considering the Belt and Road Initiatives in China, the market is projected to witness a hike. China’s Ministry of Commerce declared that Chinese non-financial investments in countries, along with the Belt and Road Initiative, reached almost USD 12.78 billion during the first 11 months of 2019.
The average monthly investment was USD 1.16 billion per month. During the same timeline, China signed several joint foreign contracted projects, which were valued at USD 127.67 billion and has witnessed about 41.2% year-on-year increase. The Chinese companies, along with the Belt and Road initiative, sign an average total contract value of USD 11.6 billion each month. The Belt and Road nations invested USD 7.02 billion in China and established 4,964 enterprises in the country. However, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has disturbed regional order with reduced factory outputs, supply chain disruption, and frozen consumption, further hampering the market growth
TABLE 1 World Steel Production, 2000–2018 (Thousand Metric Tons)
TABLE 2 Global Aluminium Production, 2000–2019 (Thousand Metric Tons)
Acrow Corporation of America specializes in prefabricated modular steel bridging solutions and offers structural metal fabrication engineering services. The company’s business line includes bridges and shorting systems, and emphasizes on strengthening its regional and international presence. The company is actively working on expanding its business across the geography and also aiming to accelerate the establishment of additional subsidiaries in the overseas market to increase its customer base. For instance, in May 2019, the company acquired Mabey Bridge Limited to widen its product portfolio.
Atlantic Industries Limited is a leading Canadian service provider of turnkey solutions in the fabricated metal products market. The company develops, designs, sells, and leases modular bridges solutions to its clients working across transportation, public works, railway, mining and energy, forestry, and development sectors. In January 2019, the company announced the establishment of its new plant and storage facility in Kenora, Ontario.
Modular Bridges Market: Segmentation
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