An industry searching for freight

A weak start into 2016 for the transport market


Erkrath, Germany, 2016-04-20 – The European transport industry had a slow start in the 1st quarter of this year, as evidenced by current numbers from the TimoCom transport barometer. The barometer shows that the ratio of freight to vehicle space was 30:70 in the first three months of 2016. However, with the temperatures rising, the transport market is also slowly warming up.

2016 began slowly, with a reduction in the amount of available freight throughout Europe. At the end of January, the TimoCom transport barometer showed a freight share of 36% - six points below the previous year's value.

But there was worse to come for the transport industry. In February there was a clear disparity between freight and vehicle space on the transport market: 21% of freight on offer as compared to 79% vehicle capacity. That made February the weakest month in over five years. "We are seeing the consequences of the challenges that have been affecting the European transport and logistics industry for months now", says Marcel Frings, TimoCom's Chief Representative. "The terror risks, and particularly the refugee crisis, have lead to borders being closed even within the Schengen zone. The flow of goods, unlimited until now, has once again to pass through the eye of the needle.“

The BVL (German Union for Logistics) shares this assessment, as published in their current logistics indicator for the 1st quarter: "The financial crisis, the Greek crisis, Grexit, Brexit and the refugee crisis - the number of problems is growing. Uncertainties regarding increased border controls within the Schengen zone require caution from logistics service providers. There are new - expensive - challenges and process changes to face. Not only that, there are also uncertainties regarding international economic development and the intensity of the digital transformation."


Noticeable upward tendency

Traditionally, March has offered more freight for transport. Spring, with the first hints of sun and flowers, has a lively effect on the transportation market, and the freight percentage rose 12 points to 33% (2015: 40%), which indicates a good forecast for the coming months. "Even though the Institute for Economic Research (ifo) economic climate did not look good for Europe at the beginning of the year, the course will improve from now on, as people start to get outside. Classically, this has a direct and positive effect on the European transportation market. We expect that the coming weeks will once again see an increase in freight offers on the TimoCom transport platform", says Frings.

There has already been a visible improvement in the ratio of freight to vehicle offers at the end of March. The real question now is whether or not the market can keep this trend going into the 2nd quarter.

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