The chief of Caterpillar's global mining group expects a "serious tire shortage" in that sector by the end of 2011, according to a new Reuters report.
Caterpillar Global Mining President Chris Curfman, speaking to Reuters during a copper mining conference in Chile, said, "By the end of this year, or early next year, we will be in a potentially serious tire shortage situation. There is a lot of truck demand, a lot of big tractor demand. Lead times are stretching out now and we are seeing some supply chain issues."
Curfman suggested the shortage could mimic the tire plight six years ago, when Caterpillar and other equipment makers were caught by fast rising tire demand that choked off OE supplies. That led to significant equipment and tire delays even as demand was increasing.
As for Caterpillar’s business, Curfman said, "We're delivering record numbers of mining products, predominantly outside the U.S.," with most of that going to markets like China, India, Russia, Chile, Peru and Brazil.
"Latin America is just booming and we're seeing just a huge increase in new mines," said Curfman. "New greenfield mines going in are probably at a record level, so we see very good growth curves going forward.”