Thursday, July 21, 2016

Multimodal Transport Report Shows Variety Around the Globe

Arm of OECD Publishes First Quarter Figures
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – The latest report from the International Transport Forum (ITF) shows a mixed picture as regards traffic volumes of global multimodal freight types in the first quarter of 2016. The ITF’s verdict is to conclude that ‘the overall picture [on air freight] suggests downside risks’ according to its preliminary seasonally adjusted data. The ITF is an intergovernmental body of 57 different state representatives acting as a think-tank across all transport modes, and is an arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) whose role is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

Air freight, which the ITF considers a lead indicator for overall economic performance, has been decreasing since the third quarter of 2015 in the United States after a one-year period of growth. In the 28 EU countries air freight volumes remain below the pre-crisis levels. In comparison total external trade by sea in the region, measured by tonnes of goods carried, has been growing above the pre-crisis level since the first quarter of 2015.

This contrasts with the US where volumes have stagnated (-8%) and exports and imports continue to display diverging trends. Total exports transported by sea reached 38% and 13% above pre-crisis peak in the EU-28 and the United States respectively while imports stagnate below pre-crisis levels (EU -5%; USA -24%). Exports to BRICS and Asia have been the locomotive of European and North American growth since the crisis of 2008. Exports by sea from the EU-28 to BRICS and Asia remain at their above pre-crisis levels (49% and 69% above pre-crisis peaks). Exports by sea from the United States to BRICS continue to show growth, reaching 57% above pre-crisis levels.

The United States external trade with Mexico by road and rail, measured in value, continues to grow strongly since the recovery started in 2011. EU-28 trade with the neighbouring countries remains stagnant with the exception of trade by road with the Balkan region and trade by rail and road with Turkey, the current political situation in that country may mean a dramatic fall off in trade.

Meanwhile EU area surface freight volumes measured in tonne-kilometres remain stagnant, reflecting weak domestic demand and the rail freight volumes continue to decrease below the pre-crisis level in China, indicating potential slowdown in domestic demand. All these statistics can be viewed in graphic form on this link to the full report.