2023 is halfway through meaning that it’s time again to look at how the forwarder market is doing. As you may know by now, forwarders are registered* in Sweden by the Swedish Transport Agency. The figures are analyzed, commented on, and compiled by the sister-site Skogsforum.se each quarter. And of course, we here at Nordic Wood Journal translate that for this site. So, here are the numbers and analyses for the first six months of 2023.
Large forwarders rule
After a weak 2022 with vast delivery problems, partly due to a lack of components, the Swedish forwarder market is now stabilizing. Registered forwarders so far this year indicate a yearly number of between 350 to 400 machines which should be seen as normal volumes. The market seems to have stabilized, and we can see that the large forwarders are dominating the Swedish market.
Twice as many forwarders as last year
Skogsforum.se has followed and reported the Swedish forwarder market since 2016 and has registration data as far back as the early 2000s to compare. Normally the Swedish forwarder market is quite stable, but in 2022 far fewer machines were registered due to delivery problems. Now, production seems to be back to normal levels and all major manufacturers have the capacity to deliver according to demand.
John Deere Forestry and Komatsu Forest have doubled the number of delivered machines so far this year compared to last year.
The market shares are stable with John Deere as a narrow market leader before Komatsu Forest on second and Ponsse unthreatened in third place. The only obvious market share loss is seen by Eco Log which has fewer registered forwarders so far this year compared to the same period last year. As we are talking about small numbers here, the situation can very well change when it’s time to summarize 2023 by the end of the year.
The forwarders grow bigger
Even though the market shares are stable, there are obvious trends in the registration data. One trend is that the forwarders grow bigger. When comparing today’s figures with 2015, or nine years ago, large changes have occurred. The share of forwarders larger than 15 tons (payload) and more has increased from 37 to 60 percent. The share of small and mid-sized forwarders has decreased. Especially the segment between 12 to 14,9 tons that has gone from a 42 percent share in 2015 to 27 percent today.
If we look at the largest forwarders, from 18 tons payload and more, their share has gone from 18 percent in 2015 to 31 percent so far this year.
The changes in payload occur mainly in the southern parts of Sweden where the machines “grow”. In 2015, the average difference between north and south Sweden in payload was 3 tons. In the last years, the difference has been 2 tons. The average payload in north Sweden has been stable and the increase has taken place in the south.
Ponsse Mammoth challenges the giants
One machine that definitely raises the average payload is the Ponsse Mammoth. This 25-ton forwarder was launched last year and rapidly entered the Swedish market. Four Mammoths have been registered in Sweden this year. Three of them are in the south.
Tigercat has a 25-ton forwarder of which a few were sold in Sweden, but it seems that the Mammoth will become a more common sight in the Swedish forests. Ponsse’s second largest forwarder, the 19-tonner Elephant King, has advanced to be the most sold Ponsse forwarder in Sweden. Of 11 registered Elephant Kings so far this year, nine were delivered in south Sweden.
Komatsu Forest’s largest forwarder, the 20-tonner 895, has advanced to a position alongside the second largest Komatsu forwarder, the 875, as the most common red machine in Sweden. 16 machines each of the 875 and the 895 were registered in Sweden up to 30th June this year.
As for John Deere Forestry, the 15-tonner 1510G is still the unthreatened bestseller. 15 of the largest John Deere forwarder 1910G were registered during the first six months.
When will we see red or green 25-ton forwarders?
Considering this development one can ask oneself if there will be any 25-tonners from Komatsu or John Deere soon. Rumors say that there is a green giant underway but there is no official information about this available for the moment.
We must however bear in mind that the Swedish market is extreme when it comes to large forwarders. In the neighboring country Finland, when the conditions are similar to the Swedish, only a few of the larger models are sold. The same goes for all the European markets.
One factor to think about when the machines grow bigger is road transport. Many European countries have more limited weight regulations for road transport than Sweden. The North American market should on the other hand suit the large machines better.
Three brands dominate
As usual, the list of best-selling forwarders in Sweden is topped by John Deere 1510G. It is in its own division and has been so for many years. The excitement in the list occurs below the 1510G where we see that the larger machines are climbing.
Komatsu 895 and 875 are numbers two and three. Ponsse Elephant King has climbed to sixths position and passes Ponsse Buffalo which used to be Ponsse’s bestseller in Sweden. Smaller forwarders for thinning are found further down the list where Rottne F11 and John Deere 1010G have six registrations each.
Little room for others
When adding the market shares of John Deere, Komatsu, and Ponsse, those are so far this year representing 85 percent of the Swedish forwarder market. That is more than ever before, except for 2015 when they were on the same level as now. If we look at Q2 2023 alone this share is 88 percent.
The space for other brands is in other words shrinking which makes the Swedish market extremely tough to enter. Still, several brands are trying. One example is Finnish Logset which has clear ambitions in Sweden.
The forwarder map
On the site Skotarkartan.se (the Forwarder Map) Skogsforum has posted all newly registered forwarders since 2012 on an interactive map over Sweden. Brands and manufacturing years could be chosen to see where the machines were delivered as new. Also, the smaller forwarders Malwa, Vimek, and Terri could be found here.
Have a look and practice your skills in the Swedish language. Click on the icon at the top right corner and choose the brand (“Märke”) and year. Then you click on circles on the map to zoom in on the single machines to see the model and location of the (first) owner.
* In Sweden, all forwarders are registered by the authority Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) at delivery. As the Swedish market for CTL machines** is the largest in the World (2022), those figures give a fairly good picture of the total market for CTL machines. The harvesters are not registered by the Transport Agency, but the number of manufactured harvesters in most cases follows the number of forwarders.
This article is based on figures from the Swedish Transport Agency’s forwarder registrations and has been analyzed and compiled by Skogsforum.se.
** CTL = Cut-To-Length is a system based on two machines: one harvester that fells and cuts the trees into lengths at the stump in the forest, and a forwarder that brings the timber to the roadside. This type of machine is manufactured and used in the Nordic Countries. The CTL technology is gaining market share globally and is used in more than half of the World´s felling operations today. Most manufacturers of CTL machines are in Sweden and Finland.