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Postado em 27 de abril de 2021 | 17:21

French road haulage in gloomy state in Q1

Demand remains well below pre-COVID crisis levels and its long-term average, according to the latest market report by FNTR, leading to growing dissatisfaction among some operators.

The volume of global business in France’s road haulage sector in the first quarter of the year continued to be well below pre-COVID crisis levels and its long-term average, according to the latest market report published by French road haulage trade body Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers (FNTR).

It said the findings depicted “a difficult and very fragile situation at the beginning of 202”.

The survey found that 41% of company managers surveyed said they had experienced a drop in their activity in Q1; but the FNTR’s report underlined “strong disparities” between the categories of goods transported and geographical regions of France.

“While the situation is improving in the wholesale trade and manufacturing industry, it is deteriorating sharply in general retail,” it said.

On the employment front, the report noted that while the sector is usually under pressure to find staff, notably truck drivers, more than two-thirds of companies saw their workforce stagnate in Q1 and 17% even experienced a decline in workforce numbers. Only a small proportion (10%) of hauliers are recruiting.

The report also highlights a reluctance on the part of hauliers to invest.  As in the previous quarter, only 26% of business owners said they have purchased new vehicles.

“This stabilisation at a very low level unfortunately does not give any prospect of a quick return to the pre-crisis situation,” the report noted. “This will pose real problems, particularly in terms of energy transition, since transporters must be able to invest in cleaner vehicles. This is currently very difficult for them and will be even more so if corporate taxation is further increased in the months and years to come.”

Growing dissatisfaction

The survey also revealed that only a little over one-third of French hauliers (36%) are satisfied with their company’s position. As a point of comparison, the average satisfaction rating in 2019 was close to 50%.

However, some operators are seeing their business grow significantly despite the current gloomy state of France’s road haulage sector.

Calais-based Transports Carpentier has seen its turnover from inbound UK traffic increase by 38% since Brexit took effect at the beginning of the year as a result of its capacity to offer customs clearance expertise for goods entering the European Union, while the company has also benefited from a number of its peers pulling out of the cross-Channel trade, according to local newspaper, Nord Littoral.

Carpentier has taken on new customers, both for import and export traffic and further opportunities linked to Brexit lie ahead as customs controls on entry into the UK are due to take effect from January 2022 – having been postponed from April and July this year – it added.

Meanwhile, adapting to the new post-Brexit border administration rules and the COVID-19 pandemic have heavily impacted cross-Channel trade, Eurotunnel noted in its latest monthly traffic bulletin.

Its shuttle freight service saw a drop of 21% in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period last year, in a market down by 16.3%.

Eurotunnel said it had confirmed its position as market leader with a truck market share of 38.9%.





Source: lloyd´s

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