Therefore it was very important for the sector that the construction industry, after a long dry spell, was able to contribute again to the economic upswing in 2006. This is also the reason for the increased plastic tube production for domestic use. In comparison to 2005, it rose by 68,000 tons (plus 14.3 percent). This level was last reported in 2000. Of the total German production, 24.4 percent was exported and the import quota amounted to a mere 6.0 percent.
The KRV estimates that the civil engineering sector, with a share of 89 percent, constitutes the largest user category of plastic tube systems. Of this share, 49 percent are allotted to the wastewater sector (disposal and rain water drainage), followed by the areas of drinking water, cable protection and gas. At a rate of 11 percent of the overall production, the building construction sector uses significantly lower quantities, although its turnover share is estimated to be disproportionately higher. In the view of the association, the overall turnover of the German plastic tube industry, valued at end consumer prices, about ? 2 billion annually, and the building construction sector is believed to contribute to this number with about 35 percent.
Runaway Export Success: Polypropylene TubesThe use of polyethylene (PE) tubes for the construction of plastic tube systems has increased extremely over the past years. For the first time since 2004/2005, the production volume of tube systems of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was surpassed. With 306,800 tons, PE tube systems held a share of 46.1 percent of the total production, followed closely by PVC systems with a share of 42.1 percent. Compared to 2005, all standard plastics reported welcome increases.
PE tubes posted a plus of 12.4 percent and PVC systems reported a growth of 9.9 percent. In the polypropylene (PP) sector, the increase amounted actually to 16 percent, which represents a market share of 8.1 percent of the overall German tube production. The latter can be contributed mostly to foreign trade. With an export share of 55.6 percent, PP plastics are far ahead of PE (24.5 percent) and PVC tubes (15.3 percent).
While the amount of residential building permits declined between 1996 and 2006 from 576,000 to 248,000, the annual production volume of plastic tube systems rose from 518,000 tons to 665,000 tons in the same period. This is an increase of 28.4 percent overall.
According to the KRV, the reason for this anti-cyclical development lies in the fact that plastic tube systems increasingly and steadily replace traditional materials and the tube systems made thereof. For example, plastic tubes are used as substitutes for concrete waste water pipes. Also with a view to vitrified clay tubes, the situation for plastic tube systems is positive. KRV calculations show that the market share of vitrified clay tubes dropped between 1996 and 2006 in the disposal sector by 18 percent overall as compared to PVC U-tubes. In the area of residential land drainage, vitrified clay tubes were all but replaced.