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A new report by Transport Intelligence has forecast that the European road freight market will contract by 6.8% this year. In nominal terms (holding only exchange rates constant), the contraction is 8.3%.

Unsurprisingly, the economic disruption caused by coronavirus is seen as the main reason for the negative growth. The report finds that the domestic market has shrunk by 6.2%, with the international market shrinking by 8.0%.

Most of the aforementioned disruption occurred amidst lockdowns during the spring wave of the pandemic. During one week in mid-April, data from Transport Intelligence shows that truck traffic fell by more than 50% in Spain, 46% in France and 37% in Italy.

Worryingly, although Eurozone GDP bounced back by a record 12.7% in Q3 compared to Q2, the report concludes that the second wave of coronavirus „looks set to dampen growth for Q4 and into 2021.”

Key takeaways from the report:

  • lockdowns and temporary factory closures primarily to blame for the negative growth international road transport
  • German based investment bank Berenberg expects the Eurozone economy to return to pre-COVID levels by mid-2022
  • Rising unemployment in Europe will impact consumer confidence and thus have a negative effect on road freight
  • A fall in diesel prices in the first half of 2020 helped carriers
  • the economic shock and fall in demand has led to carriers accepting lower prices

Key figures in the report:

  • European road freight market will contract by 6.8% in 2020
  • Domestic road freight market has shrunk by 6.2%
  • International road freight market has shrunk by 8.0%
  • In 2020, the 5 largest markets; Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain, are forecast to make up 60.1% of the total size of market
  • The road freight market as a whole is forecast to total €322,808m
  • The domestic market totalled about 70.1% of the market, while the international market accounted for 29.9%
  • DHL Freight saw an 8.7% fall in revenues despite volumes only falling 0.9%
  • At DB Schenker, volumes fell 4.1% over the first half, but revenues fell by a sharper 9.9%
  • At Waberer’s, volumes fell 18.2%, with revenues down 32.3%.

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