French rental recovering, but challenges persist

By Murray Pollok08 September 2021

French equipment and rental association DLR has reported a massive 54% year-on-year increase in rental activity in the second quarter of 2021 as the French economy and the rental sector continue their recovery from the pandemic.

The second quarter of 2020 was at the peak of lockdowns last year, so the big increase is to be expected.

DLR, writing in its quarterly barometer survey, said the recovery in equipment sales was also significantly higher (up 37%) although the material handling sector – mainly forklift rental – saw a modest 2% increase in the quarter.

The organisation said French government financial aid had played a significant part in the recovery, with 30% of rental companies having taken out state-backed loans. Around two-thirds of equipment distribution companies used state loans.

The association now reports that the rental sector is facing other challenges as it seeks to sustain the recovery in the rest of the year, with the two main issues being the supply of new equipment and recruitment.

Shortages and long delivery times for new equipment is making it difficult to renew fleets, and companies are also finding it a challenge to recruit new staff, particularly mechanics.

DLR called for several initiatives to help the French economy; “The first step is to secure the supply chains of strategic products, either by building up stocks or by relocating factories in the territory. Out of 9,334 products imported by France, 122 are of particular concern.“

“Then, employment policies should be reoriented towards vocational training where there are shortages.”

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