Recession fears are prompting a number of UK forklift rental companies to cut their spending on new additions to their rental fleets and sell some of their used equipment in an attempt to boost liquidity. Such action is likely to result in a significant reduction in the number of lift trucks available for short term rental during the coming fourth quarter peak retail period, warns John Maguire, managing director of leading articulated forklift-based intralogistics solutions specialist, Narrow Aisle Ltd.
Maguire said: “Anecdotal evidence suggests that in anticipation of a sluggish 2021 forklift rental companies are preparing their businesses for the cash-flow challenges that may lie ahead.
“For retailers and their third party logistics service partners this means that planning ahead and ordering equipment in good time to ensure that they have sufficient materials handling resources to cope with the seasonal spikes in demand generated by the coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales season and, of course, Christmas, is essential.
“It is also inevitable that if there is less equipment available across the market for short term hire, some companies will increase their rental rates.”
A reduction in the number of short term rental trucks is also likely to cause problems for those companies holding increased inventory in an attempt to minimise the risk of supply chain disruption if Britain is unable – as seems increasingly likely – to agree a trade deal with the European Union before the end of 2020.
“Warehouse operators across the UK are under intense pressure to maintain handling efficiency at their facilities and many will need to bolster their material handling fleets with extra vehicles to cope with the additional goods they are storing on behalf of companies that are stockpiling products to ensure their business is not affected by possible future customs or port delays,” says John Maguire.
“At Narrow Aisle we are experiencing unusually high levels of demand for our range of Flexi articulated short-term rental trucks. We have over 350 vehicles in our short term rental fleet but some 90 per cent are already being utilized, so I would advise warehouse operators that need to add machines to their material handling fleets not to delay.”
Standard models in the Flexi fleet are offered for next day dispatch and installation anywhere in the UK. Trucks are maintained to a very high standard through Narrow Aisle’s product support network.