According to Sennder, a Digital Freight Forwarder, the cost of road transportation in Europe increased by 13% in 2022 based on the rates it pays its carriers. One of the largest increases (24%) was observed on the Poland–Germany route.
The main reasons for the increase in European transportation costs were primarily higher fuel prices and a shortage of drivers. In addition, the Rhine’s low water level in the summer led to increased demand for transportation capacity, which, coupled with a shortage of drivers, resulted in higher prices on domestic and foreign German routes.
However, 2023 brought another trend: the traditionally weak transportation demand at the beginning of the year was aggravated by the economic downturn in Europe. During January and February 2023, there was a drop in rates: at the end of the second month of this year, the rate level was 4 percent lower than in January 2022.
A similar trend was evident from the Trans.eu exchange data.
As reported by Thomas Christenson, Chief Operating Officer at Sennder, the situation with decreasing rates on the spot market cannot last long: carriers operate with a small markup, so rates cannot fall much lower. And assuming Europe begins to recover in the second half of the year, we can expect rates to rise noticeably as a shortage of drivers becomes more acute again and oil prices return to their historic levels.
A lot will depend on China’s economic recovery following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. Increased demand in the Middle Kingdom could stimulate the European industry.