2021 trends: This is how you predicted the future of transportation

The COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged at the end of 2019, and its subsequent global expansion from March 2020, led to a crisis that caused all sectors, including the road freight transport sector, to face a tough situation from which we are gradually beginning to recover.

The impact has not affected all players equally. Likewise, the outlook for the immediate future is also highly variable depending on the sector and the market. To answer these questions, we have conducted a macro-survey of logistics and transport companies across Europe to find out how road transport has been affected by the pandemic and how it will evolve in the coming months. More than 1.200 companies have shared with us their vision for 2021, giving us some very interesting results that we will share in greater depth in our next whitepaper.

Restrained optimism for road freight transport in 2021

This is the statement that concisely sums up the survey responses. The logistics and transport sector is aware that the worst is over, but nevertheless they prefer to wait for further developments before calling it a day. Therefore, on a scale of one to ten on the degree of optimism, the average score is 6.2. The Dutch see the "glass half full" with 6.7, while in Spain and Portugal they are more cautious, with 5.5 and 5.8 respectively.

The decline in the volumeof activity has been a reality across the continent and is undoubtedly one of the reasons for this restrained optimism. In fact, 60% of respondents acknowledge that their transactions have been lower than in 2019, but the majority (54%) states that this decline in their profits has been less than 25%, while the remaining 37% are in a range between 25% and 50%.

Transport companies forecast a similar level of activity to 2020

As for the forecast for the coming months, 43% of respondents believe that their profits will be the same as in 2020, while 29% believe that they will be higher. However, it is worth emphasizing in this regard the specific cases of Spain and Portugal, where half of the transport professionals consider that their profits will be even lower than those of the previous year.

Moreover, in these two countries the feeling is gloomier in terms of the number of transactions. While the general perception is that this parameter will remain the same or even increase, in Portugal a third of those surveyed believe that they will carry out fewer operations; this percentage rises in the case of Spain, reaching 43% of those surveyed.

The prices in the transportation sector are expected to rise this year

We can observe that yes, there is a widespread consensus, and also more optimism, on transport prices. In this case, 31% of the responses indicate that they will increase, while 38% are inclined to believe that they will remain the same. Once again, however, the discordant note is Spain, where 50% of respondents believe that prices will decrease.

This data represents just some of the most relevant aspects of our report, which is intended to help us face the coming months with greater certainty, and which we will soon share in a more extensive and analysed way. In the meantime, we will continue working so that, as we have done so far, transportation does not stop.