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New report says economic uncertainty set to boot $52 billion trenchless technology water & wastewater market

A new report is suggesting that the convergence of financial stress and aging pipe infrastructure for water and wastewater utilities presents a unique opportunity for trenchless technology solutions providers in the United States to expand their market positions.

According to Bluefield Research, the forecasted 3.4% growth rate for trenchless technology deployments will outpace broader municipal water infrastructure investment in a post COVID-19, recessionary environment.

The 2.2 million miles of drinking water pipe and 1.8 million miles of wastewater pipe installed across the U.S. vary significantly in age and material type. With current annual replacement rates less than 1% and looming financial constraints on utilities increasing, the profile and solutions to expedite infrastructure replacement are more critical than ever.

Trenchless technology deployment is shaped by key factors including asset type, location, economics, and application. The use of trenchless technologies is expected to gain additional momentum on the heels of a new, recessionary environment.

Bluefield’s new report, Trenchless Players Move to Redefine Pipe Market: Forecasts, Competitive Positioning, and Water Market Trends, 2020-2030, shows total spend across the range of trenchless technology options exceeding US$52.5 billion over the next decade. The lion’s share (76%) of this will focus on the rehabilitation of underground assets, while the remainder of the spend will be for new construction.

Trenchless tech offers potential bright spot for growth in municipal market facing looming financial impacts

Bluefield Analyst Mariel Marchand commented:

“Due to its cost-effectiveness, reduced environmental impact, and quicker project timelines, trenchless offers a potential bright spot for growth in a municipal market that is bracing for looming financial impacts.”

“Trenchless solutions have been promoted as a cheaper alternative to traditional technologies and could save as much as 30% on total project costs in urban areas.”

In contrast to more traditional, open-cut pipe rehabilitation techniques, which often require digging up the entire length of pipe, trenchless alternatives offer a less invasive way to rehabilitate existing pipes by lining or coating the inside of the pipe through smaller access points.

As such, trenchless companies aim to minimize costly disruptions, such as traffic and business impacts, which can lead to faster speed of delivery and reduced labor needs.

At the forefront of forecasted market growth will be cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) technology that accounts for 36% of total spend, followed by horizontal directional drilling. The primary opportunity will be refurbishing the broader 1.8-million-mile wastewater pipe sector, although increasing focus on water pipe leakage is also driving innovation and longer-term opportunities.

This will usher in opportunities for a host of approximately 25 leading players– both established and newer market entrants–positioning across the value chain through vertical integration to specialist providers.

The competitive landscape has also begun to shift through M&A and new market entry. Over the last four years, Bluefield has identified 18 company acquisitions including deals by Toro, Granite Construction, and Vortex. Through these, The companies are positioning themselves to gain market share via the acquisitions, while more established market leaders expand their product portfolios.

Aegion’s Insituform business unit continues to be the proven market leader with its CIPP solutions.

“Trencless technologies are not new, but the growing interest from private equity and strategic investors signals a more competitive landscape that bears watching,” Marchand continued.

“Given the economic downturn and resulting financial constraints on municipal stakeholders, a push to extend the life of assets with fewer capital costs will be an increasingly attractive option.”

Bluefield’s team of water experts has analyzed the impacts of these factors to forecast the market size and drivers influencing trenchless technologies from 2020 to 2030.

The Market Insight analyzes:

  • Current state of U.S. pipe infrastructure
  • Underlying market drivers for trenchless solutions
  • Benchmarking trenchless technologies
  • Market forecast by geography and technology
  • Competitive landscape and positioning

Companies covered in the report include

ADS * Aegion * Akkerman * Applied Felts * Aquam * Behrman Capital * Clock Spring * Envirosight * Garney Construction * Granite Construction * Herrenknecht * HOBAS Pipe * Interplastic * IPEX * IPR * J.F. Lehman & Company * JM Eagle * Laney Group * Logistec * Maxliner * Michels * MPC * NAPCO * National Liner * Northwest Pipe * Platform Partners * Quikrete Company * Rasa Industries * Raven * Reline America * Robbins * SAK * Spiniello * Straightline * Subsite Electronics * Thompson Pipe Group * Toro * TT Technologies * Vermeer * Vortex * Warren Environmental * Waterline Renewal Technologies


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