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Tyre shortage could rumble on to 2008

PLANT

MACHINE supply problems caused by shortages of large tyres could drag on for another three years, say tyre suppliers.

Shawn Rasey, US director of corporate accounts at Bridgestone said it would take time to bring new tyre production on stream.

He said: 'Our factories are at or above capacity. Demand has been unprecedented and unanticipated across a range of sizes.

We are looking at ways to help customers to get longer life out of their tyres.'

Plant manufacturers warned that users of heavy equipment should be prepared to wait for new machines - articulated dump trucks and wheeled loaders for instance are currently on lead times of 6-8 months.

Volvo chief executive Tony Helsham said:'We are advising customers that they may have to hire until new machines become available.'