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Surge in online activity to buy heavy equipment.

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Philip Weston, key accounts manager at Ritchie Bros. Middle East. Image credit: Ritchie Bros.

17 February 2021 – There has been a marked surge in online activity to buy heavy equipment in Africa and the Middle East over past year or two as construction companies turn to online marketing platforms during the Covid-19 disruptions.     

Online marketplace for buying and selling surplus heavy equipment, Marketplace-E, has recorded a surge in bidder activity in 2020 from buyers across the Middle East and Africa.

Demand for heavy equipment on the platform, which is operated by Ritchie Bros., has increased by 28% last year compared to 2019’s figures.

According to Phillip Weston, key accounts manager at Ritchie Bros. Middle East, construction companies are increasingly turning to online marketplace platforms to search for more convenient asset disposition and purchasing alternatives during Covid-19 disruption. “This upsurge is predominantly due to factors such as country-wide lockdowns and global travel restrictions, which are making attendance at traditional, live auction events more difficult. Furthermore, a shift towards online auction solutions was already underway before the pandemic, which has exponentially sped up its popularity,” says Weston.

Marketplace-E operates in several sectors, including construction, transportation, agriculture, energy, oil and gas and mining as a subsidiary of Ritchie Bros., the world’s largest heavy equipment auction company. The online platform operates a reserve price, 24/7 online service offering customers end-to-end asset management solutions that over the years have helped tens of thousands of organisations sell and buy machinery, heavy equipment, trucks, and other industrial assets.

Unlike Ritchie Bros.’ other popular quarterly Online Timed Auctions, sellers on Marketplace-E can achieve quicker results through regular weekly auctions with relatively low selling costs and access to a global online audience of buyers. Marketplace-E sells the equipment from the consignor’s location, eliminating transportation costs for the seller. Detailed inspection reports and photos of inventory feature prominently on the site. They are designed to create a higher degree of buyer confidence, which is especially important as inventory is sold ‘as is, where is’.

Typically, Marketplace-E inventory ranges from excavators, crawler tractors, wheel loaders, and backhoes to articulated dump trucks, mobile cranes, and more. More recently, increasing numbers of buses, pickup trucks and passenger vehicles are being consigned, further broadening inventory and the range of options for buyers.

“Marketplace-E has grown significantly in popularity since its launch. This pivot towards more online asset disposition solutions results from a heavy investment in technology over the last two decades to increase internet participation at Ritchie Bros. auctions,” adds Weston. “Marketplace-E differs from our other quarterly Online Timed Auctions being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, satisfying an important need in the market for immediacy that reserve price auctions can offer. With Marketplace-E, we have a solution for every customer need,” says Weston.

“Our team has worked hard over the past twelve months to drive this strong double-digit bidder growth from the Middle East and Africa regions. Interestingly, with an easy-to-use website, Marketplace-E enables sellers to increase their global reach by accessing new buyer groups from remote regions through our strong online infrastructure and digital marketing channels. Furthermore, we have introduced new buyers not previously interested in purchasing from auctions but willing to pay a premium to get top of the line used assets right away. This way, they don’t need to wait for the next auction. If they need machinery or heavy equipment now, they can source it immediately from Marketplace-E.”

An important part of the Marketplace-E service is its team of territory managers serving the Middle East and Africa regions who can visit consigners’ sites to evaluate assets where they sit and advise on preparing equipment for the online marketplace. The selling process is further aided by this team of experts who are dedicated to facilitating offline negotiations between buyers and sellers as well as providing after-sales support.

The company’s suite of services also includes presales, equipment repair, and refurbishment services, and full-service logistics services where shipping of equipment to any part of the world can be coordinated.

Marketplace-E inventory and services can be accessed at rbauction.com


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