European forwarders continued to experience lower volumes in February, according to Danske Bank’s latest Freight Forwarding Index. The index, at 47, was up from 42 in January; however it still pointed towards slightly lower volumes of goods compared with two months ago (See Ti Dashboard: Freight Forwarding Index Europe). Future prospects for forwarders fell slightly, although the index still shows an anticipated pick-up in demand over the next two months.
The index, which surveys freight forwarding companies, measures variations in actual volumes against volumes handled two months prior, as well as expectations of volumes of goods over the next two months. The index uses a scale between 0 and 100, with values above 50 indicating an expansion in demand.
Survey results showed that air freight, which has tended to underperform compared with road and sea, saw a significant improvement in February. The index registered 61 for the month, a noteworthy development compared with January’s reading of 39. At above 50, the reading indicated an increase in volumes compared with two months ago. Meanwhile, road forwarders pointed towards a minor decline in volumes; although the index was still up at 47 from 40 in January. In contrast, the index for sea freight fell to 45 in February, compared with 50 in the previous month.
Looking at the geographical breakdown, the index for Germany indicates weaker conditions compared with other markets. The index, although up from January, registered just 33. This seems quite surprising considering recent manufacturing data, which indicated an improvement in activity over the last two months. Meanwhile, forwarders in the UK indicated flat volumes, with the index reported at 50 in February.The outlook suggests that volumes will improve across all modes of freight over the next two months. The expected index for sea freight fell from 70 to 64, although still points towards an anticipated increase in demand. For air and road freight, both expected indices improved to 64 and 63 respectively.