The first Russian rental conference, organized by B2B-Rent, was a solid success Dec. 2 and 3 at the Marriott Hotel in Moscow. The conference covered a wide range of topics including prospects for future rental growth in Russia, new technologies in construction equipment, rental center management, jobsite safety, rental software and remote depot management, dealing with customer non-payments and equipment theft, presentations on the upcoming February 2011 Rental Show in Las Vegas and the June 2011 European International Rental Exhibition in Amsterdam, pricing policies, and more.

Presenters included keynote speaker Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the European Rental Association; Franco de Michelis, president of the Italian Rental Association; RER editor Michael Roth; construction expert Ted Garrison; industry consultant Larry Kaye of Script International; representatives from European rental giants Ramirent and Cramo; Alexander Ivanov of the Cat Rental Stores in Moscow, and Nikita Krotkiy, director general of B2B-Rent and owner of a Russian rental business.

Also discussed were efforts to begin a Russian Rental Association. About 60 rental personnel from various parts of Russia participated in the conference and several signed up to join the nascent organization. Although the American Rental Association was unable to send a delegate because of previous commitments, ARA is planning to support the Russian efforts and a delegation from B2B-Rent will attend the Rental Show in Las Vegas in February.

According to Krotkiy, there are about 50 pure rental companies in Russia, although renting is also done by some equipment dealers and construction companies that rent excess fleet to others. Krotkiy estimated that rental penetration is about 7 percent in Russia and that revenue of pure rental companies is more than $300 million, a figure he expects to rise to about $870 million by 2013. Krotkiy estimated that 2009 Russian rental revenue was about $1.6 billion, a figure he expects to rise to more than $3.6 billion by 2012.

Prospects for continued growth of the rental market will likely be fueled by large construction projects in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, in an area that currently lacks considerable infrastructure. During the conference the news broke that FIFA awarded Russia the 2018 Soccer World Cup, which will require massive infrastructure spending on stadiums, highways, airports, hotels, train lines, highways and more.

B2B-Rent expects to hold another rental conference next year.