European freight volumes start to recover in the second half of April

Tue 12 May 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


Freight volumes in Europe are starting to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new data.

There was an increase in shipment levels between the middle and end of April for machinery and equipment, construction and building materials, and non-food retail, according to data from supply chain platform Shippeo and reported on in Loadstar.

Loadstar also cite data from Transport Intelligence and Upply showing road freight rates have remained relatively steady during the pandemic.

In the first quarter of 2020 freight rates only dropped 0.2% year on year and 0.8% from the last quarter of 2019. The average European road freight rate for the quarter was €1,099.


Transport Intelligence report that the effects of the pandemic only began to take effect from March.

Rates remained steady as the decline in volume was offset by hauliers cutting capacity, meaning declining supply of road freight was met with declining demand.

The report said that “production in the automotive sector largely came to a standstill in mid-March, eradicating significant road freight volumes related to the sector”.

There were, however, “violent jumps in demand for grocery-related transport” due to panic-buying.


In the weeks following the imposition of lockdowns and the shutting down of borders across Europe, significant tailbacks occurred on roads between European nations, causing significant supply chain delays.

In response the EU announced ‘green’ or ‘priority’ lanes to ensure key food and medical supplies were able to pass through the continent without unnecessary disruption.