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Ctrack Logistics Barometer indicates road-freight resilience

November 8, 2019
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Though August data from the Ctrack Logistics Barometer indicates pronounced deceleration in global logistics growth, particularly in sea- and air-freight volumes, total freight volumes in South Africa are up 1,1 percent from those recorded a year ago on a three-month (June, July, August) moving average basis.

Road-freight volumes showed the strongest positive trend, rising 3,1 percent, while sea-freight volumes showed the biggest decline of -3,5 percent.

However, the global trade war is starting to have an impact on South African trade and the volume of shipped containers is a clear indication of a slowing world economy. Break bulk volumes at the country’s ports have declined 35,3 percent from a year ago on a three-month (June, July, August) moving average basis – the biggest year-on-year decline recorded since 2008. Container volumes declined by 6,2 percent during the same period. 

Land transport, though, is still growing, due to internal demand, while bulk coal and iron-ore exports show positive growth. However, even here the short-term trend is slower than before, with the Ctrack Logistics Barometer suggesting far more mundane economic performance in the third quarter.

The pipeline sector, which is dominated by fuel transportation, indicates a small decline of -0,4 percent compared with the figure a year ago, but a much larger (-5,1 percent) decline compared with July’s rating. The price of fuel has not increased much, but users have either delayed buying more in the hope of lower prices, or they appear uncertain of the short-term economic outlook.

Measurements in the table show freight volume changes – in percentages – over different time periods. The most important of these is the three-month moving average (June, July, August) measured against the same three months of last year.

Strangely, in contrast to slowing world trade trends, the latest IATA data shows a substantial increase in international air freight for South Africa. Nonetheless, the global trade war is impacting world trade and that will likely have a negative impact on both sea and air freight. Slower growth will also influence the movement of minerals – the main income generator for Transnet Freight Rail.

Furthermore, drought in the wheat growing regions of the southern Cape will impact road freight. More wheat may have to be imported, making for longer journeys for transporters. This may already be a reason for the positive growth seen in road freight.

“We are proud to say the Ctrack Logistics Barometer, now in its second month, has been well-received in the marketplace,” says Hein Jordt, managing director of Ctrack SA. “It appears that road transport continues to gain market share, providing the backbone in the South African logistics industry.

“However, it remains imperative for transport and logistics companies to manage their delivery fleets closely in lieu of recent oil price increases. Only a holistic fleet-management system with daily insights – such as Ctrack’s business intelligence reports and bureau services – can simplify this important task for fleets.”

Change from 2018

Rail

Road

Pipeline

Sea

Air

Storage & handling

Logistics

August 2019 vs August 2018

+0,1%

+2,2%

-5,9%

-1,5%

-2,0%

-6,1%

-0,1%

March, April, May 2019 vs March, April, May 2018

+1,0%

+3,1%

-0,4%

-3,5%

-0,4%

-2,1%

+1,1%

Short term changes

Change from July 2019 to August 2019

+1,1%

+0,8%

-5,1%

-4,1%

+0,9%

-6,3%

-0,7%

March, April, May 2019 vs June, July, August 2019

-1,0%

-0,5%

-1,4%

-8,5%

-0,8%

+0,9%

-1,1%

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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