Equipment rental in 2023: The year in pictures

From product launches to acquisitions and ConExpo too, here are some highlights from 2023 in pictures. 

January: Deere reveals an electric excavator at CES
During a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show CES 2023, John Deere CEO John May revealed the 145 X-Tier electric excavator.

Deere 145 X-Tier excavator John Deere unveiled its 145 X-Tier electric excavator at CES. (Photo: John Deere)

John Deere Construction & Forestry is pursuing a stated goal of introducing more than 20 electric and hybrid-electric construction equipment models by 2026.

February: Hitachi buys French dealer 
Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) (HCME) acquired its French dealer Cobemat SAS back in February. The deal included its two subsidiaries, Cobeloc and MTS, and came into effect on April 1, 2023.

Gitachi buys Cobemat HCME President Takaharu Ikeda (left) with Cobemat owner Xavier Beaulieu. (Photo: HCME)

At the same time, HCME also revealed the agreement was a sign of its ambitions to expand its sales and rental network in France. 

March: ConExpo returns
March saw ConExpo-Con/Agg return for the first time since the pandemic, with a record-breaking 139,000 visitors in attendance, 2,400 exhibitors, covering 3 million square feet of exhibit space.

The crowds start to build at ConExpo 2023 in Las Vegas, US. The crowds start to build at ConExpo 2023 in Las Vegas, US. (PHOTO: KHL)

Visitor numbers were 6% higher than the pandemic-impacted 2020 event - which closed a day early - and more than 24,000 travelled from outside the US, representing 17% of the total. The next show is due to take place on March 3-7, 2026, at the same Las Vegas venue.

April: Kennards celebrates 75th anniversary

Founded in 1948 by Walter ‘Wally’ Kennard, the family-owned company has established itself as the second-largest rental company in Australia and has more than 1,800 employees and almost 200 branches across Australia and New Zealand.

From left to right: Angus Kennard, Cam Kennard, Prue Kennard, Andy Kennard, Bill Whitehouse and Rory Kennard. From left to right: Angus Kennard, Cam Kennard, Prue Kennard, Andy Kennard, Bill Whitehouse and Rory Kennard. (Photo: Kennards Hire)

The first piece of equipment the company supplied was a Lightburn concrete mixer. Since then, it has continued to expand its portfolio, which now includes compaction, access, lighting and earthmoving equipment.

May: Boels acquisition expands lighting division

Boels Rental has expanded its presence in the UK, with the acquisition of lighting tower rental specialist Illumin8.

Neil Fenwick, Managing Director at Illumin8 and Asif Latief, Managing Director for Boels Rental UK. Neil Fenwick, Managing Director at Illumin8 and Asif Latief, Managing Director for Boels Rental UK. (Photo: Boels)

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Essex, Illumin8 serves customers in the construction, events, civil engineering, rail and film and television sectors.

June: Doors open for IRE in Maastricht

The APEX and International Rental Exhibition (IRE) events for the access and rental industry made a successful return in 2023.

The APEX and International Rental Exhibition (IRE) events for the access and rental industry made a successful return to Maastricht, the Netherlands at the beginning of June.

Held at the MECC venue, the two exhibitions attracted more than 6,130 industry professionals, which is only a fraction less than the 6,250 when the shows were last staged in 2017, demonstrating a continued appetite for in-person events for networking and supplier meetings.

July: Speedy partners to rent fuel-cell generators

Speedy Hire is to rent hydrogen fuel cell-powered generators through a partnership with reneweable energy specialist AFC Energy.

The initial phase of the agreement will see Speedy cross-hire AFC Energy’s H-Power Tower Generators.

The two companies aim to form a 50/50 joint venture to rent the gensets. The JV will initially

Speedy Hire Speedy Hire is to rent hydrogen fuel cell-powered generators through a partnership with reneweable energy specialist AFC Energy.

invest around £2.2 million in AFC’s 30 kW H-Power Generators.

August: Merlo announces new president and plans

Paolo Merlo has been named as the new president of Merlo Group. The appointment follows the death of company founder and president Amilcare Merlo late last year.

Paolo Merlo Paolo Merlo has been named the new president of Merlo Group.

The Italian company was the first in Europe to manufacture the modern design of telehandler, in 1981. Today the group comprises nine specialist companies and six subsidiaries in France, Germany, UK, Spain, Poland, Australia and a new addition in the US – alongside a distribution network of over 80 importers and 600 dealers worldwide.

September: LiuGong launches 21 tonne electric wheeled loader

LiuGong has launched a new 21 tonne electric wheeled loader into the European market.

Powered by a 423kWh large-capacity lithium iron phosphate battery from CATL, the 856HE is

LiuGong launched a new 21-tonne electric wheeled loader into the European market.

said to be the first fully electric wheeled loading available in Europe.

October: China’s rental growing pains explored at IRC

The challenges facing AWP rental businesses and the future potential of the market were the focus of attention at the 10th International Rental Conference (IRC), held in Shanghai on 23 October.

The Chinese market is facing “pain points” after more than eight years of dramatic growth.

The Chinese market is facing “pain points” after more than eight years of dramatic growth, which has seen the total AWP rental fleet grow to more than half a million units.

November: Anti-dumping investigation begins into China MEWP imports to Europe
The European Commission begun an investigation into imported MEWPs from China in November following official complaints from suppliers based in Europe.

The compaints claimed that low cost or ‘dumped’ imports are harming the industry in the continent. The European Commission said the product subject to the investigation is “mobile

The Berlaymont building - headquaters of the European Commission The Berlaymont building - headquaters of the European Commission (Image: Andrzej via AdobeStock - stock.adobe.com)

access equipment designed for the lifting of persons, self-propelled, with a maximum working height of 6m or more, and pre-assembled or ready-to-assemble sections thereof, excluding individual components when presented separately, and excluding person lifting equipment mounted on vehicles.”

December: United Rentals launches carbon emissions estimator

United Rentals has launched an ‘Estimated Emissions’ dashboard that enables users to estimate carbon emissions from rented equipment, including historic, present or future equipment use.

United Rentals has launched an ‘Estimated Emissions’ dashboard that enables users to estimate carbon emissions from rented equipment.

The digital tool, which is available through United’s ‘Total Control’ cloud-based platform, aims to help customers understand their equipment emissions and make data-based decisions on equipment management.

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Ollie Hodges Publisher Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: ollie.hodges@khl.com
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