Intermodal performance affected by recession & road transport competition 26/05/23

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The consumer recession and road transport competition affected intermodal performance



Author: Lukasz Kuś 2023/05/26


Intermodal transport in Europe decreased by 13.96% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period last year, the Union of Combined Road and Rail Transport (UIRR) reported. This is the second worst quarterly result of the industry recorded in the statistics of this organization.

photo: Pixabay

The consumer recession and the decline in the volume of trade in Europe are reflected in the results of intermodal transport. The decrease in combined transport at the beginning of 2023 was only slightly smaller than in Q1 2020, when this transport decreased by 14.67% and it was the time of the most severe lockdown introduced due to the covid pandemic. In the last quarter of 2022, intermodal transport in Europe recorded a decrease of 6.46%.

At the same time, the UIRR Sentiment Index for the industry for the next 12 months remains negative. The poor result of combined transport at the beginning of the year is due to several factors: lower consumer spending, strikes on the railways in Germany and France, problems with the capacity of railway lines caused by modernization works, high electricity prices for railways and greater competitive pressure from long-distance car transport , which have a lot of free capacity and did not suffer such large increases in operating costs as railway undertakings.

Representatives of the intermodal industry once again called for interventions in the electricity market and for improving the management of the railway network capacity in order to prevent further transfer of loads from rail to roads, which is contrary to the strategic goals of the climate policy for transport. So far, this intervention has been undertaken by the German government.

Read also: Germany: EUR 1.1 billion to reduce energy charges for rail carriers

— Even in difficult times, the intermodal industry does not stop investing and developing its competitiveness - focusing on those factors that are under its control. Sectoral investment in advanced digital solutions, new terminal capabilities and rolling stock continues at a fast pace. New routes are opening regularly, reflecting the sector's confidence in the solution it offers for highly energy-efficient, very low-carbon long-distance inland freight services,” commented Ralf-Charley Schultze, Chairman of the UIRR.