Ti study says that European road freight market forecast to grow by 8.6% in 2021

Date Added: 25 November 2021

As a major provider of European overland trailer services, Davies Turner notes that according to a UK Transport Intelligence (Ti) study, the European road freight market, which has been on a 'roller coaster' ride since the onset of the coronavirus crisis in Q1 2020, is expected to grow by 8.6 per cent this year compared to last year.

Year-on-year growth in the first half of 2021 was very strong at 11.1 per cent - though H1 growth was against a large contraction in H1 2020. The total 2021 market is expected to be 2.2 per cent larger compared to 2019's pre-pandemic peak, at a total of EUR352.39 billion (USD98.81 billion).

Whilst the general picture through 2021 is one of rebound and recovery there are different stories across the main European economies, the Ti study showed.

When looking at 2021 growth data compared to pre-pandemic levels the German road freight industry performed best of the largest markets, growing by 2.6 per cent (projected figures). Germany's performance is driven largely by trade growth although there have been signs of domestic weakness not least due to issues affecting its important manufacturing sector.

Component shortages and supply chain bottlenecks have meant that many automotive manufacturers have been forced to suspend production.

The fact that all of the other large economies experienced such steep drops in market size in 2020 has meant that most are only just recovering to 2019 levels.

The disruption to Italy's manufacturing sector due to Covid has meant that the country's road freight sector is still 1.9 per cent below its 2019 size.

For the UK, international transport proved a drag on the market due to Brexit issues (growth in intra-European trade has only been a third of that recorded by France and Germany) although its domestic performance has been relatively strong.

The 2021 recovery in the international section of the European road freight market has been stronger than domestic, with the international market expected to grow by 11.8 per cent year on year, whereas the domestic road freight market was more subdued with 7.2 per cent compared to last year.

The strength and pace of post-pandemic economic recovery since Q3 2020 suggests gathering momentum in the European road freight market over the five-year forecast period to 2025, despite some persistent headwinds in the manufacturing and construction sectors. The total market is forecast to expand at a 4.4 per cent CAGR over the period to 2025, driven by stronger retail sales, notably via online channels, and increased manufacturing and production levels.

Michael Clover, Ti's head of commercial development, said: "Retail and e-commerce growth has strengthened markedly in the first half of 2021 fuelling the recovery for road freight, however supply constraints in the manufacturing sector have been a drag on overall growth.

"Over the forecast period we expect continued strong demand from the retail sector and, as we move in the latter years of the forecasts period, we expect to see supply chain challenges in manufacturing and construction unwind to enable stronger growth."

For more information about Davies Turner’s European road freight forwarding and logistics services, please contact [email protected] or visit https://www.daviesturner.com/road-freight

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