The airfreight logistics market is experiencing rising optimism, and even the overall sea freight outlook is more upbeat despite showing a decline in confidence this month, according to a recent survey.
The Stifel Logistics Confidence Index, a monthly survey of international shippers and forwarders measuring Europe-based air and ocean freight trade lanes, rose for a fourth consecutive month in September, up 11.3 percent from last year’s 47.6 reading, and 1 percent higher than last month’s 52.4.
The September reading also marked the eighth consecutive month above the 50 baseline reading, which signifies growth, according to Stifel Nicolaus Transportation & Logistics Research Group, which conducted the survey.
Results are a blended indicator of present conditions and six-month expectations in both airfreight and ocean freight.
“In our view, these results support the existence of a gradual recovery from a protracted inverted plateau in the overall European freight forwarding market,” said a release from the research group.
“We believe that airfreight volumes in particular continue to show improvement, and that Europe-based freight should continue to strengthen into 2H13 as downside volume risks taper away.”
By trade lane, the Europe-U.S. loop showed a strong jump of 4.9 points, while the U.S.-Europe lane reflected a slight increase of 0.8 points, the increase being partly attributed to the improving economies of the U.S. and Europe.
Surveyed European freight forwarders expressed increasing optimism for the next six months for the airfreight market, particularly on the Asia-Europe lane. The trade posted the largest gain from August, increasing 4.6 points in September to 60.4. This may indicate the potential increase in spending as the holiday season approaches.
Overall sea freight index stepped backward by 0.4 points to 54.1 in September, reversing last month’s sequential improvement. The survey results speculated the drop to have been caused by the rate implementations and announcements for additional rate adjustments effective September 1.
The U.S. trade lanes were negatively affected for both present and future expectations, while the Asian trade lanes posted mixed results.
Regarding a peak season in 2013, respondents’ opinions were mixed. About 42.4 percent believed there would be one, 36.7 percent indicated there would be none, and 20.9 percent were unsure.
The Logistics Confidence Index indicates that a positive change should occur in the next six months, climbing 0.5 points to 59.1 for September. Confidence is on the rise as freight forwarders expect improving market conditions and increases in volumes.
“We continue to believe that downside risks for both the airfreight market and the European trades have moderated,” the research company said. “Results over the past several months suggest that European import/export volumes should continue to improve as the year wears on, and this month’s index readings seem to corroborate that story.”
It continued: “Still, current absolute volumes remain below benchmark, and both airfreight and seafreight activity must continue to get better before the market returns to normalized levels.”
Photo: Alaskan Dude