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Cargo scanning report

In its latest study of the $2.6 billion market for explosives, weapons and contraband (EWC) detection equipment, a market research company 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 United States federal Department of Defense for deployment in the Middle East) fell by 20.9 percent to $178m in 2011. The main cause for this decline was the disengagement of America’s armed forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.

What according to the market research company was 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.”

For industry suppliers, 2012 is shaping up to be a much better year. Based on recent order books, IMS is forecasting C&V sales to grow by 5.3 percent to $561.7 million through year end. Arluck said: “While the US market remains slow, we are seeing strong growth from emerging economies in Latin America and Asia. 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.


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