Danske Bank Index suggests marginal increase in volumes for European forwarders

European forwarders saw a marginal increase in volumes in March, according to Danske Bank’s Freight Forwarding Index for March. The index registered 52 for the month, up from 47 in February. At above the 50 mark, the index indicates a minor increase in volumes compared with two months previously. Prospects for forwarders also registered a marginal improvement, with volumes expected to increase over the next two months.

Source: Ti Dashboard – Freight Forwarding Index: Europe

The index surveys freight forwarding companies operating in the air freight, sea freight and road transport sectors in order to determine variations in actual volumes against volumes handled two months ago, 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.

Following an improvement in air freight volumes in February, the index fell back slightly in March. However, at 53, it still indicated slightly higher volumes compared with two months ago. Results from the survey pointed towards flat volumes among European road forwarders, although the index was up slightly at 50 from 47 in February. Meanwhile, the index for sea freight indicated a marginal increase in ocean volumes compared with two months ago. The index registered 52 for the month, up from 45 in February.

According to the Danske Bank Index, forwarders based in Germany continued to experience weak demand. Despite an increase from 25 in February to 33 in March, the index generally remained lower than in other countries. The only exception being the Benelux area, for which the index fell dramatically to 14 in March from 64 in February. In the UK, forwarders surveyed indicated a slightly more positive environment; the index increased to 68 in March from 50 in February.

In terms of outlook, the overall index registered 58, indicating an increase in volumes over the next two months. Air forwarders were much less optimistic with the index falling from 64 to 44. Meanwhile sea and road forwarders expect volumes to increase over the next two months (with the index at 62 and 59 respectively); however, compared with last month the indices for both registered a marginal decline.

The Danske Bank Index indicates a slightly more positive environment for forwarders than the recently published Stifel Logistics Confidence Index. Although the two indices do not provide a like-for-like comparison, they both confirm that month-to-month changes in volumes are marginal, yet respondents expect volumes to increase in the near future.