*COVID-19 causes fluctuations on the transport market during Q1 2020
The uncertainty regarding developments due to the Coronavirus crisis has caused a rapid increase in freight offers on the European transport market, according to the latest TIMOCOM Transport Barometer.
“Many companies made orders early, as they were worried about possible border closures and other restrictions as part of the response to the Coronavirus,” explained Tilman Fecke, Business Analyst at TIMOCOM, regarding the unusually high increase in freight offers placed on Europe’s leading freight exchange until mid-March.
As such, TIMOCOM was able to record an increase of 16 percent for freight offers in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the previous year; transports from EU countries to Italy rose by 26 percent, those going to Poland increased by an incredible 53 percent. Refrigerated trucks were in particularly high demand. At its peak, demand for temperature controlled transports rose by 50 percent over values from the previous year, the freight exchange operator reports. Freight volumes then sunk by more than two thirds as of mid-March.
The height of this upward trend was the middle of March, and the downturn was marked by the European wide lockdown, which essentially caused production to come to a halt and – with the exception of food retail – caused a slump in delivery volumes. “Despite an increase in transports in the food segment, the amount of freight was reduced by more than two-thirds from the middle to the end of March, all across Europe,” Mr. Fecke reports. “There has never before been a comparable development before Easter.” Up to 750,000 freight and vehicle offers are placed in the TIMOCOM system daily.
Although transport companies are desperately searching for orders to fill their trucks during the lockdown, the vehicle space capacity listed on the market via the TIMOCOM platform sank during the first quarter of this year. The number of available trucks in Q1 of this year sunk by 3 percent as compared to the same quarter last year; in Germany the number of vehicle space offers sank by a total of 15 percent. How does that match up?
“We are seeing that transport companies are taking parts of their vehicle fleets off the market because they do not have enough orders to utilise them,” added TIMOCOM Company Spokesman Gunnar Gburek. The state of emergency the world is currently in is thus leading to market distortions. However, there is some optimism: “We are currently seeing slight increases in the number of freight offers. But we will not know how the transport economy will develop within the context of the corona pandemic until we see results from the second quarter.”
The FreightTech company TIMOCOM has been using the Transport Barometer since 2009 to analyse the development of transport offers and demand as found in the freight and vehicle space applications, which are integrated into the Smart Logistics System. More than 130,000 users generate up to 750,000 international freight and vehicle space offers daily on the exchange. The system helps over 43,000 TIMOCOM customers to meet their logistics goals smartly, safely and simply.