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Ecomotive - Archive

02/07/2012
LOWER TRANSPORT PRICES BUT HIGHER COSTS IN EUROPE

Normally, operators are able to raise their transport tariffs to cover the increase in the price of fuel, but in the first quarter of 2012 this was not the case: compared with the last four months of 2011, the diesel index rose by 2.9% but the transport index dropped by 7.9%. Also according to this report, the price of diesel increased by 2.9% against the previous quarter, but goods transport tariffs dropped significantly.

Paolo Castiglia

FREQUENTLY, the goods transport world is clearly the litmus paper for an economic crisis and its fluctuations, and the trends in transport can be read in its areas of light and shade. For example, an analysis of the first quarter of 2012 shows a potential recovery in transport tariffs in March following a downturn in January and February. Transport capacity also declined in March. In terms of quantities, the price index in January 2012 was 92.7, which dropped to 89 in February, then rose again in March to 95.1. The analysis of the monthly data for the previous year indicates that the transport market is more volatile than in the past. This has also been demonstrated by the Transport Market Monitor, which shows for the first quarter of 2012 a 7.9% drop in the price index compared with the fourth quarter of 2011 and 3.8% compared with the first quarter of 2011. The Transport Market Monitor is a three-monthly report prepared by Capgemini Consulting on the basis of data published by internet logistics platform Transporeon. 

The Transport Market Monitor also analyzes the average trend in European diesel prices compared with transport prices. Normally, operators are able to raise their transport tariffs to cover the increase in the price of fuel, but in the first quarter of 2012 this was not the case: compared with the last four months of 2011, the diesel index rose by 2.9% but the transport index dropped by 7.9%. Also according to this report, the price of diesel increased by 2.9% against the previous quarter, but goods transport tariffs dropped significantly, overall capacity continued to grow and the index reported by TMM increased by 41.5% compared with the third quarter of 2011. The report also states that in 2012 the downturn in prices is higher than in the previous year due to the economic slowdown in Europe and uncertainty about the future. 

The trend in the coming months also depends on these factors. The falloff in transport tariffs began in July 2011 and since then the results have been lower every month. Added to this is the falloff that tends to be repeated between the last quarter of the year and the first of the subsequent year, an average of 5-7%. This is caused by a seasonal downturn in demand in the first three months of the year, especially for consumables and building materials, that follows a peak in the last quarter of the year because of the Christmas season. 

With regard to the strong increase in transport capacity during the first quarter of 2012, the report emphasizes that such a high fluctuation between two consecutive quarters was seen only in 2008-2009, due to the macroeconomic crisis. However, also in this case, the increase in capacity is structural.

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