Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 - Fact.MR

Global coal handling system sales are set to grow at 4.2% y-o-y in 2021, and surpass US$ 6.5 billion in valuation. Demand from thermal power generation will continue to sustain momentum, however, long-term prospects of coal handling equipment industry will contract as a shift toward renewable energy sources is underway. Leading research and consulting firm, Fact.MR, in its latest study, opines market revenues to grow at over 4% during the period 2020-2030.


“While US and Europe are making a gradual exit from coal energy, cost-efficiency will continue to drive demand in China and India. To boost efficiency and mitigate energy losses, use of integrated coal handling management system is likely to grow in these countries. Especially, material handling and stockyard management will witness an increasing level of automation in the next decade”, says Fact.MR in the latest 2020-2030 edition of the study.


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 ‘Safety-first’ Approach – How Evolving Standards Influence Coal Handling Equipment Design


Worker safety standards are influencing the design of coal handling systems. Fact.MR’s surveys and interviews with stakeholders across the value chain revealed that equipment design is being driven by a ‘safety-first approach’. Equipment manufacturers have responded positively to the evolving standards, and in the last couple of years, safer machines and components have been launched.


While implementing the design changes, manufacturers are taking a two-pronged approach – increased safety and reduced maintenance requirement. This two-pronged approach is most widely seen in conveyors, according to the Fact.MR study.


Conveyor Sales Account for 50% of Total Revenue Generation


Conveyors remain the top-selling category in the coal handling system market. In 2019, conveyors accounted for 50% of all coal handling equipment sales.


“Although conveyors are ubiquitous at a coal plant, they also remain one of the least maintained components. Conveyor maintenance requires a lucid understanding of the installed hardware and its working, which continues to be a challenge owing to the growing ‘knowledge gap’ in this industry”, says Fact.MR.


Future coal handling equipment demand will be heavily influenced by broader developments in thermal power generation. The thermal power industry is likely to grow at nearly 3% through 2030; any major decline in growth can severely limit the prospects of equipment manufacturers.


Coal Handling Equipment Industry Looks Eastward as US and EU Phase-out Coal Energy


Coal handling system manufacturers have to contend with waning demand, as focus on exiting fossil fuels gradually gains traction in North America and Europe. According to Fact.MR’s analysis, bulk handling equipment manufacturers are looking eastward as fossil fuel phase-out will be slower in APAC.


Coal generation mega-projects in China and India will be pivotal to driving future sales. These two countries collectively drive a majority of coal handling equipment in APEJ, a region which accounts for 70% share of total market.


Declining coal production in the U.S. continues to limit opportunities, albeit, it still remains a lucrative market. Another major contraction in US coal production can be expected, as policy-makers turn to natural gas, and other renewables. The US only accounts for 10% of total coal handling system sales.


A similar decline can be expected in EU, with Germany, France, Spain, and Italy phasing out coal power generation gradually. UK, for example, accounts for less than 2% of the global coal handling system market. The outlook in France and Germany mimics the broader shift-away from coal energy, which will lead to modest demand for coal handling equipment in these two countries.


While China, India, and South-east Asia present stable opportunities, demand for coal handling equipment in Japan and South Korea will continue to witness a decline. Governments in these two countries are focusing on clean energy, which will lead to diminishing opportunities for market players.


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Automation and Improved Safety Top 2 Focus Areas: Fact.MR Survey


Coal handling equipment market remains consolidated, with few global companies accounting for a significant market share. Fact.MR’s survey with thought leaders revealed that greater investment in automation and safety will be a central strategy for manufacturers in 2021 and beyond. The updated edition of the report provides a comprehensive coverage of the likely key strategies of market players. Some of the players profiled in the report include Thyssenkrupp AG, FLSmidth & Co. A/S, Metso Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Sumitomo Heavy Industries Material Handling Systems Co., Ltd., and Tenova S.p.A. The updated edition also offers a detailed analysis on the COVID-19 impact on this market.


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