TIMOCOM transport barometer: strong recovery after slow summer
Third quarter 2021: Freight volumes across the board are 51 percent stronger than they were at the same time last year, but dipped slightly compared to the second quarter of 2021
The third quarter of 2021 has once again confirmed an upwards trend in road transport numbers. The TIMOCOM transport barometer recorded another rise in freight entry into the Smart Logistics System. Accumulated data from 46 European countries shows a sharp increase of 51 percent compared to the third quarter of 2020.
Significant recovery after slow summer
The upwards trend that developed in the first two quarters of the year continued during the third quarter of 2021. The first quarter kicked off with 58 percent growth, and the second quarter, which exhibited an increase of 251 percent as compared to the same quarter in 2020, reached levels that were double those seen even before the pandemic. The third quarter once again showed an increase of 51 percent as compared to 2020, while simultaneously exhibiting a slight dip compared to Q2 2021. In total, around 9 percent fewer freight offers were entered into the System as compared to the second quarter.
After a comparatively slow August – -29 percent when compared to July 2021 – the transport barometer recorded a 54 percent increase in September, ending the summer slump.
Month to month comparison for the third quarter on the European market
Developments over the last three months: the numbers July 2021 showed a slight slump of 6 percent when compared to June, which was a very strong month. In August, in comparison, freight entries went down significantly, by a total of 29 percent. “That’s a common seasonal development,” according to Gunnar Gburek, TIMOCOM Company Spokesman. “We usually see a drop in freight input during the summer months. August, in particular, tends to be a weaker month for all of Europe. Because of that, it’s more important to focus on the continued positive developments as compared to 2020, as well the fact that the numbers went up again in September.” The transport barometer shows an increase in road transport in September, with 54 percent more freight offers compared to August 2021 and an increase of 33 percent as compared to September 2020.
Germany matches European trend
Numbers from within Germany for the third quarter show similar developments to those seen for freight offers across all of Europe. While it’s true that freight offers within Germany went down by 18 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2021, they nevertheless rose significantly as compared to the same period in 2020: the transport barometer recorded more offers than even those recorded in 2019, showing 47 percent more freight offers than in the previous year (Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020). The following shows the developments in the third quarter of this year as compared to last year, broken down by month: July +105 percent, August +34 percent, September +24 percent.
And September was particularly strong when compared to the rest of 2021: growth of 60 percent as compared to August shows a clear upwards trend. “These developments can be attributed at least in part to the start of year-end business here in Germany as well,” according to Gunnar Gburek.
The Polish market tells a different story
Third quarter transports within Poland tell a different story: the transport barometer did record growth of 26 percent as compared to freight entered in the same quarter last year. However, there was only a slight 2 percent increase in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2021. July was incredibly busy, with an increase of 66 percent compared to the same month in the previous year, but then August only showed a 19 percent increase in freight offers as compared to last year. And September freight was at the exact same level as it was in the middle of the pandemic.
The most significant changes by country comparisons
The number of freight offers for cargo travelling from the Netherlands and Belgium to Germany continued to rise. The following shows how much freight entry grew in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to the same quarter last year:
- NL -> DE: Jul: 276 % / Aug: 100 % / Sep: 110 %
- BE -> DE: Jul: 388 % / Aug: 169 % / Sep: 121 %
Transports within France also grew significantly in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to 2020: in July numbers rose by 32 percent, in August 20 percent and in September 28 percent. On the other hand, the number of goods transported from Hungary to Germany and Romania dropped significantly as compared with the same quarter last year. The same is true for freight travelling from Austria to Slovenia. The concrete numbers:
- HU -> DE: Jul: 0 % / Aug: +10 % / Sep: -33 %
- HU -> RO: Jul: -21 % / Aug: -7 % / Sep: -38 %
- AT -> SI: Jul: -16 % / Aug: -18 % / Sep: -22 %
Serious driver shortages across Europe
According to information from a variety of professional associations, the driver shortage in Europe is growing dramatically. Everyone has seen the headlines about the problems in the UK, which is currently experiencing a shortage of over 100,000 professional drivers. In Germany, too, the Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (Federal Association for Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal – BGL) has noted that there is a shortage of up to 80,000 truck drivers and the number is growing each year. And neighbouring countries, for example Poland, are experiencing similar problems. According to information from traffic associations in Poland, there is a shortage of over 100,000 professional drivers in the country. “We are seeing significant drops in transport capacities across Europe, in particular in regard to vehicle space. And of course these developments mean that we can expect to see transport prices rise in the future,” according to Gunnar Gburek.
The FreightTech company TIMOCOM has been using the transport barometer since 2009 to analyse the development of transport offers and demand across 46 European countries via the freight exchange, which is integrated into the Smart Logistics System. More than 135,000 users generate up to 800,000 international freight and vehicle space offers daily. The System helps over 45,000 TIMOCOM customers to meet their logistics goals smartly, safely and simply.