Global Opportunities for Adhesives and Coatings in High-speed Rail

The new Frost & Sullivan analysis Global Opportunities for Adhesives and Coatings in High-speed Rail finds that the market earned revenues of USD 50.4 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach USD 151.7 million in 2019. Environmentally-friendly polyurethane-based coatings are expected to become popular, says the market research and consulting firm.

According to the report, government initiatives to develop strong high-speed rail (HSR) networks in various countries and make mass transits faster, safer, and efficient have opened up opportunities for the global HSR coatings and adhesives market. France, Germany, Spain, Italy and China are key growth markets that will eventually become the primary hotspots for HSR coatings and adhesive manufacturers, says Frost & Sullivan. Environmental mandates have facilitated advancements in water-borne and fire-retarding coatings, thereby aiding the development of the global coatings and adhesive market.

"Apart from enhancing product quality, acquiring a global presence and extending technical support to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have enabled HSR coating manufacturers to stay competitive,” said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials, and Food Research Analyst Soundarya Shankar. "In fact, maintaining a global presence is crucial, as OEMs prefer manufacturers with regional facilities so that they can work closely to obtain customised solutions.”

The large number of HSR projects initiated in the USA further widens the growth prospects for HSR coatings and adhesive suppliers. China also offers potential for market growth, although political uncertainty in the country and the 2011 Wenzhou rail crash have significantly affected new investments, says Frost & Sullivan. Unstable economic conditions and delayed government funding limit revenues in Europe as well, especially as HSR is viewed as a luxury and not a national priority like the construction and automotive sectors. Rising raw material prices add to the challenge, and vendors are looking to reduce manufacturing and operational costs to avoid passing on price hikes to their customers.

"Health concerns and regulatory requirements will compel companies to introduce polyurethane-based coatings that have a smaller environmental footprint,” observed Shankar. "The trend will start in Europe, with Asia-Pacific and North America following suit.” The market in several European countries such as Turkey, Poland and Sweden is likely to gain momentum in the medium term.