The economic crisis has had a catastrophic impact on the road transport sector in most countries, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) told the UNECE meeting on Transport Trends and Economics, on the basis of an IRU survey conducted amongst its Members in 74 countries.
Comparing the current situation (January to June 2009) to the same period last year, the survey shows that international road transport is particularly severely affected by the global economic downturn. The survey also clearly indicates that financing transport operations is becoming increasingly difficult, which results in a dramatic increase in the number of bankruptcies.
Bearing in mind transport market differences from one country to another, the survey highlights that, on average:
• Domestic road freight transport output (t/km) has decreased by 10-20%;
• International road freight transport output (t/km) is down by 20 to 30%;
• Revenue development (domestic transport) decreased by 10 to 20%;
• Revenue development (international transport) decreased by 20 to 30%;
• Freight transport rates are down by more than 10%;
• Driver employment has decreased by more than 10%;
• New truck registrations are down by at least 30%;
• Access to bank credit has become more difficult; and
• Bankruptcies are up by at least 20%.
Although forecasts remain elusive in the current situation, the road transport industry does not expect a recovery in the sector, with normal growth rates of 1.5%, before 2011.
Since road freight transport has become a vital tool, interconnecting every business and transport mode all along the production and distribution chains, and given that the whole road transport industry is also a major contributor to the economy in terms of employment, taxes, R&D and investments, the IRU therefore renewed its call on governments to:
- Urgently remove all neo-protectionist barriers;
- Reassess and reduce current taxes;
- Reappraise superfluous and inefficient environmental legislation;
- Induce financial institutions to provide adequate credit lines so that transport operators can continue operating their business, as any penalty on road transport is an even greater penalty on the economy as a whole.