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European road freight capacity dips after all-time highs

On 18 June, CLECAT joined the webinar by Transporeon on road transport market developments.

According to Transporeon, European available road freight capacity on the spot market hit record levels in April and May to the backdrop of COVID-19, although the current month has brought some relief in the supply-demand imbalance. However, while available capacity in the first two weeks of June was up 30.1% on the same month in 2019, it showed a fall of 22.5% on the previous month. Prices in June are so far down 14.3% on a year ago but are up 3% on May 2020.

“Over the corona months, February and March and especially April and May, (available) capacity increased dramatically over previous years,” commented Tim Consult’s managing director Oliver Kahrs. “We had 70-75% more capacity in some of these months, compared to last year, which had a dramatic effect on carriers and the market. “The capacity levels we saw in April and May were the highest we have ever seen since we began monitoring the sector in 2008 and are due to COVID-19 effects,” he said.

As for prices, some stability had been observed in February and March, but price levels declined sharply from April as the COVID-19 kicked in and available capacity increased significantly. One branch of the road freight market which has not followed the general trend with regard to capacity and pricing during COVID-19 has been FMCG and foodstuffs in particular, with the lockdowns buoying demand for such goods.

Looking ahead, Mr Kahrs said that the slight increase in spot prices in June (compared to May) and the ongoing increase in industrial output is expected to have a positive impact on available capacity and might also result in in further price stabilisation. However, a return to pre-crisis levels is not foreseen, at least for the next six to eight weeks, and will depend on how the pandemic evolves.

Source: CLECAT

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