Tunnel Boring Machine Market 2030 by End-user, (Road Transport, Railway Transport), Machine Type (Slurry, Shielded), Geology Type (Soft Ground) - Partner & Customer Ecosystem (Product Services, Proposition & Key Features) Competitive Index & Regional Footprints by MarketDigits

Industry : Automotive & Transportation | Pages : 184 Pages | Published On : Dec 2023

The market size of the Global Tunnel Boring Machine was valued at $5,995 million in the year 2021. Projections suggest that it will achieve a valuation of $10,300 million by the year 2030, experiencing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% throughout the forecast period spanning from 2023 to 2030.

Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are utilized to excavate tunnels through a variety of rocks and soils. Their primary applications include the excavation of coal mines and tunnels. The expansion of railway and highway infrastructure construction projects is anticipated to be a driving force behind the growth of the global tunnel boring machine industry. The market for tunnel boring machines is expected to escalate as these machines find increased application in projects involving water supply and disposal, oil and gas pipelines, and hydropower initiatives.

Compared to conventional technologies, TBMs have demonstrated a capacity to significantly reduce the time required for construction activities, leading to higher levels of acceptance and adoption. Moreover, the heightened investment in road infrastructure and railway ventures is poised to play a pivotal role in propelling the global tunnel boring machine market forward.

Market Dynamics

Market Driving Factors

The Surge in Traffic Infrastructure Projects to Boost Market Progress

Efficient transportation networks like railways and highways play a vital role in modern economies, serving as the fundamental pillars of sustained economic progress. The global drive to enhance transportation routes has become more pronounced, particularly in emerging economies. Urban areas grappling with limited space often resort to tunneling as a solution to construct transportation facilities. These tunnels provide a seamless and rapid means of transportation along strategic pathways, thereby fueling the demand for tunnel boring machinery. A notable example is the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel, which was excavated using Herrenknecht Gripper TBMs.

Furthermore, government investments in railway and pipeline projects are expected to contribute to the expansion of the tunnel boring machine market. An illustrative case is the Italian government's allocation of $33.79 billion to a railway infrastructure project in July 2019. Similarly, Switzerland's collaboration with neighboring countries like Germany and Italy, through international treaties, demonstrates its commitment to enlarging tunnel networks in order to efficiently accommodate the escalating volume of traffic.

Increased Focus Toward Micro-Tunneling to Drive Market

Micro-tunnels, which are crafted using small-diameter TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines), provide an alternative to the open-cut excavation method. This is due to their cost-effectiveness and heightened efficiency in construction. The dimensions of these compact tunnels can range from 0.61 to 1.5 meters. In response to shortages in water and wastewater system capacity, the United States and Canada are opting for the construction of small tunnels. An example of this is the Gore Road project in Canada, where a micro-tunneling TBM developed by Ward and Burke Construction Ltd. was employed to create a small tunnel for a sanitary sewer pipe.

Moreover, both China and Japan have pioneered micro-tunneling technology to minimize surface disruption during the excavation of pipeline routes beneath rivers, roadways, or railway lines. In Mexico, the construction of the 62 km long underground wastewater treatment tunnel known as Tunnel Emisor Oriente utilized earth pressure balanced (EPB) tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from Herrenknecht and Robbins. These instances of micro-tunneling projects significantly contribute to the growing demand for tunnel boring machines.

Market Restraining Factors

High Investment Cost and Lack of Flexibility to Restrict Market Growth

A tunnel boring machine comes with a significant economic cost, and the installation expenses are also substantial. Moreover, once a construction approach has been chosen, making alterations during the course of tunnel excavation becomes highly impractical. In contrast, the blasting method presents a more cost-effective option for tunnel construction when compared to tunnel boring machines. Furthermore, for tunnel projects exceeding a length of 4 km, the employment of a tunnel boring machine is typically recommended. Conversely, for shorter tunnel spans below 1.5 km, the drill and blast technique tends to be the preferred choice. As a result, these factors are expected to pose challenges to the expansion of the tunnel boring machine market.

Key Market Opportunities

Technological Advances through Automation and Rock Cutting Technology

Anticipated market growth in the forthcoming years will be propelled by advancements in tunnel boring machine technology. Automation, for instance, promises to yield heightened productivity, enhanced safety, optimal resource utilization, and decreased labor costs. The utilization of water jet and diamond wire technology involves the application of high-pressure waterjets and diamond wire cutting methods for excavating rock.

Similarly, wireless sensor networks based on ZigBee technology find application in tunneling operations for seamless data communication. This facilitates the acquisition and processing of real-time data, providing valuable support to project managers and tunnel boring machine operators. A case in point is the Master Drilling Company's introduction of a mobile tunnel boring machine for Northam Platinum in April 2019. Notably, this mining industry-focused tunnel boring machine employs a wireless sensor network. It boasts a cutter head capacity of 17"" disc cutters and a diameter capacity of 5.5 meters.

Segmental Analysis

The global tunnel boring machine market is segmented by machine type, geology type, end-user, and region.

By Machine Type

Based on machine type, the global market is categorized into Slurry TBM, Shielded TBM, Multi-Mode TBM, Earth Pressure Balance Shield TBM, and Others. Others include open type, gripper TBM, partial face excavation, and direct pipe.

The Slurry TBM segment emerges as the predominant contributor to the market, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.9% during the forecast period. The burgeoning wave of tunnel construction endeavors, driving the demand for tunnel boring machines, is anticipated to be a pivotal driver of market expansion. Leading industry players are actively offering slurry tunnel boring machines tailored for road construction and railway pipeline projects, thereby further propelling the market's upward trajectory. Across the globe, the upswing in traffic and utility projects is poised to fuel the growth of the slurry TBM segment throughout the forecast duration, contributing significantly to the market's advancement.

Simultaneously, the Earth Pressure Balance Shield TBM segment is positioned as the swiftest-growing sector. The adoption of EPBMs is steadily on the rise in the construction of rail tunnels, metro and transit initiatives, highways, and various other road tunnel projects. This trend is attributed to the noteworthy safety standards and consistent operation that EPBMs exhibit under diverse geological conditions. Notably, recent implementations such as the integration of Robbins's Crossover XRE in Mumbai's metro system, amalgamating features of single shield TBM and EPBMS TBM, showcase the evolution in the field. In London, approximately eight Herrenknecht TBMs are relentlessly crafting a seamless railway line through the bustling metropolis, serving as an impetus for market growth. Prominent industry players embracing joint ventures as a key development strategy for tunnel boring machine adoption open the doors to lucrative prospects for market expansion.

By Geology Type

Based on geology type, the global market is classified Into Soft Ground, Hard Rock Ground, Heterogeneous Ground, and Uneven Ground.

The Heterogeneous Ground category holds the leading position in market contribution and is projected to experience growth at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.3% over the forecast period. Heterogeneous ground formations arise in regions affected by glacial activities, leading to a reshaping of the landscape. These tunnel scenarios are increasingly prevalent in Swiss tunneling regions, characterized by a blend of rocky sections and diverse lost ground elements. Noteworthy industry players like Herrenknecht AG and CREG TBM Germany GmbH offer tunnel boring machines tailored for such projects. Furthermore, the escalating global trend in tunnel construction projects is expected to pave the way for promising opportunities in market expansion.

Simultaneously, the Soft Ground segment emerges as the swiftest-growing sector. This category primarily leverages earth pressure balance shield boring machines and slurry-type tunnel boring machines to tackle geologies characterized by soft ground. Innovations within the realm of soft ground TBMs aim to enhance their capacity to stabilize tunnel faces and avert surface settlements, even in the most challenging soil and environmental conditions. Prominent market players are actively supplying slurry-type tunnel boring machines optimized for soft ground geologies. Additionally, the UAE government's strategic investments in new railway initiatives contribute to the landscape of opportunities for market growth.

By End-User

Categorized by end-users, the global market is segmented into Road Transport, Metro & Transit, Utilities, Mining, Railway Transport, Oil & Gas, and Others.

The Metro & Transit division stands out as the most significant contributor to the market, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.1% over the forecast period. The escalating number of metro transport projects plays a pivotal role in driving the demand for tunnel boring machines within the market. Additionally, substantial investments by major metro pipeline companies into infrastructure projects are expected to serve as a driving force for market expansion. In contemporary times, Software as a Service (SAAS) solutions are employed to streamline the management of metro tunneling projects, expediting project completion in response to the surging demand for metro services in urban areas. The forthcoming deployment of high-speed underground public transport systems like hyperloops and automated pods further amplifies the growth trajectory of the tunnel boring machine market.

Ranking second, the Road Transport segment emerges as a significant contributor. The growing roster of road construction projects across the globe serves as a driving factor propelling the growth of the tunnel boring machine market. The market development is further steered by the rising demand for tunnel boring machines to facilitate road infrastructure initiatives. Moreover, the surge in global road construction projects presents opportunities for the advancement of the tunnel boring machine market.


Regional Analysis

Geographically, the global analysis of the tunnel boring machine market encompasses North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA regions.

Why is the Asia-Pacific Region Expected to Lead in Market Lucrativeness throughout the Assessment Period?

In the context of revenue contribution, the Asia-Pacific region takes the lead and is projected to achieve a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.7% during the forecast period. Notably, countries like China and India are embarking on a series of strategic endeavors to advance large-scale tunneling initiatives, particularly for railway and highway projects. This surge in activity is a response to the upsurge in population, rapid urbanization, and robust economic expansion within the region. Such conducive factors play a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the tunnel boring machine market.

Furthermore, India's landscape showcases a notable number of ongoing metro development projects, adding to the momentum of demand for tunnel boring machines. An illustrative case is the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which has already set tunnel boring machines in motion for the Metro III corridor project spanning 33.5 kilometers. Remarkably, the tunnel boring machine in this instance was procured from the manufacturing facility of Herrenknecht AG situated in China.

Moreover, within the Asia-Pacific region, a multitude of manufacturers are directing their efforts toward the development of cutting-edge tunnel boring machines, thereby propelling market expansion in the area. A case in point is the Chinese manufacturer CCCC Tianhe Mechanical Equipment Manufacturing Co., which has engineered an impressive slurry tunnel boring machine with an expansive 13.1-meter diameter. This colossal creation was tailored for a high-speed rail endeavor in Indonesia. Likewise, Australian tunnel boring machine manufacturer TERRATEC has introduced two new earth pressure balance shield machines (EPBMs) measuring 6.56 meters in diameter for the Halkali-Yeni Havalimani Metro Joint Venture, contributing to Istanbul's novel airport metro line.

In the European context, the tunnel boring machine market is predicted to attain a valuation of USD 2,410 million by 2030, experiencing growth at a commendable CAGR of 6%. Noteworthy players within the region are offering tunnel boring machines that promise efficient and reliable operations, riding the tide of economic growth and significant investments in infrastructure projects across Europe. Notably, Germany's Herrenknecht AG, a renowned TBM manufacturer, created the world's largest TBM boasting an impressive 52-foot diameter, effectively employed in the construction of Italy's 4.6-mile di Valico tunnel.

Similarly, in the endeavor to construct the 12.6 km Thames Tideway Tunnel, NFM Technologies, Ferrovial Agroman, Laing O'Rourke, Herrenknecht AG, and Lovat collaborated to develop six TBMs. Additionally, the Eastern Europe region witnesses a surge in road infrastructure and railway pipeline projects, catalyzing the expansion of the tunnel boring machine market. Nations like Bulgaria and Poland in Eastern Europe are poised to experience heightened construction expenditure on transport infrastructure, contributing to a positive trajectory in TBMs demand.

In the North American domain, holding the third largest market share, the intensification of road construction activities is fostering a rise in global tunneling undertakings, effectively fueling the growth of the tunnel boring machine market. An illustrative instance is the June 2017 commencement of a nearly 5-mile tunnel project by the Indiana government authority. This initiative aimed to curtail sewer overflow into local waterways by conveying sewage from the sewer system to a treatment plant. Notably, the tunnel boring machine responsible for excavation in this project was developed by Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA Inc.

Furthermore, a plethora of tunnel initiatives are currently underway in the United States, encompassing the construction of highways, railways, and water management infrastructure. Notably, the deployment of tunnel boring machines takes center stage in noteworthy projects like Seattle's S.R. 99, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, and the Thimble Shoals tunnel, all contributing to the expanding landscape of tunnel construction within the country.

Moreover, the surge in micro tunneling endeavors across Canada significantly propels the growth trajectory of the market for small-diameter double shield TBMs and direct pipe TBMs.

Top Key Players of Tunnel Boring Machine Market

  • China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Co. Ltd.
  • Herrenknecht AG
  • Dalian Huarui Heavy Industry Group Co. Ltd.
  • Hitachi Zosen Corporation
  • IHI Corporation
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.
  • China Railway Engineering Equipment Group Co.Ltd.
  • Komatsu Ltd.
  • Northern Heavy Industries Group Co. Ltd. (The Robbins Company Inc.)
  • Qinhuangdao Tianye Tolian Heavy Industry Co. Ltd.

Recent Developments

  • In June 2022, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. revealed the successful delivery of the LPG carrier CRYSTAL OASIS (Kawasaki hull No. 1752) with a capacity of 84,000 m3 to KUMIAI NAVIGATION (PTE) LTD. This marked the company's 67th LPG carrier production.
  • Similarly, in June 2022, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. achieved the delivery of the bulk carrier PHILHOKUSAI (Kawasaki hull No. 8083, DACKS hull No. 117) at the Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (DACKS) in Dalian City, China. This collaborative endeavor involved China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited (China COSCO Shipping).

Tunnel Boring Machine Market Segmentation

By Machine Type

  • Slurry TBM
  • Earth Pressure Balance Shield TBM
  • Shielded TBM
  • Multi-mode TBM
  • Others
  • By Geology Type
  • Soft Ground
  • Hard Rock Ground
  • Heterogenous Ground
  • Variable Ground

By End-User

  • Road Transport
  • Railway Transport
  • Metro & Transit
  • Utilities
  • Mining
  • Oil & Gas
  • Others

By Regions

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific


Table and Figures


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