UK transport market depressed but operators remain upbeat

Tunbridge Wells, UK: British transport operators are optimistic that road freight activity will increase across all sectors says the Freight Transport Association.

Research by the association shows a ‘patchy’ start to 2011 with large variations between sectors. “The growth in domestic road freight was generally weaker than expected for quarter one with the exceptions of the construction, public authority and waste disposal sectors, which all showed better than expected growth,” says Bruce Goodhart on the Freight Transport Association information team.

Data from association’s Quarterly Transport Activity Survey for April 2011 shows that there is an undercurrent of optimism in the second quarter of the year with road freight activity expected to increase across all sectors.

“While our data points to a pretty depressed market still, some comfort can be found in our respondents’ optimism that growth is just round the corner. With operating costs having risen at twice the rate of inflation and the number of insolvencies having increased by a third on the previous quarter, this is surely a welcome sign,” he says.

The association expects growth road freight from retail and wholesale sectors in the second quarter. It also expects road and rail intermodal freight traffic to grow as rail plays more of a part in moving goods than would otherwise go by truck.