Freight transport continues to grow, but carriers and logistics are concerned about the future
From January to April this year, 196.1 million tons of cargo were transported – 5.8 percent more than a year earlier – according to the GUS data. Entrepreneurs, however, look to the future with great uncertainty.
The most popular mode of transport in Poland in terms of volume is still road transport. We transported 95.6 million tons of cargo in the first four months of 2022 (an increase of 2.7% comparing two years). It constituted 48.7 percent of the entire volume of transported goods in Poland.
However, it is rail transport that is developing the most dynamically. It grew by over 8% between January-April 2022, with a total of 80.6 million tons of cargo transported by this type of transport.
Meanwhile, sea transport experienced a minimal decrease in the transported volume (by 0.1%) in the first four months, which reached 27.3 million tons.
During the first four months, cargo turnover in Polish seaports amounted to 33.9 million tons – 4.9% more compared year on year. In April alone, 8.4 million tons of cargo were reloaded, which is 9.8 percent more than in the corresponding period of 2021. In the period analyzed by the Central Statistical Office, the turnover of general cargo in ports increased (by 31.0%), and liquid bulk cargo (by 22.4%, including oil and petroleum products by 25, 1%) and, slightly, rolling loads (by 1.0%). On the other hand, there was a decrease in the turnover of dry bulk cargo (by 7.3%, with an increase in coal and coke by 11.9%) and container transshipments (by 2.5%).
POSITIVE ABOUT FINANCES
In the first quarter of this year, the financial results of enterprises operating in the transport and storage sector were higher than those achieved a year earlier – the result for the sale of goods increased by over 42%, and the net financial result – by 40%. The percentage of enterprises reporting a net profit in the total number of enterprises in the transport and storage section also increased (from 68.0% to 70.1%).
Interestingly, financial results were achieved better than a year ago, despite galloping labor costs in the transport and warehouse management sector, where the highest increase in wages was recorded in the entire enterprise sector, by as much as 24.3 percent compared to the previous year.
Still, the average employee of the sector earns less than the average in the enterprise sector, which in April amounted to PLN 6,626 gross. Meanwhile, in the sector that we are interested in, it reached PLN 6,033.
FEARS FOR THE FUTURE
The future, however, is not bright. May’s assessments of the current demand and sales are slightly less positive than in April this year, and the unfavorable diagnoses of the financial situation are similar to those reported a month ago.
The directors of the surveyed companies plan to increase employment and, at the same time, expect an increase in prices.
Among the difficulties in running a business in May this year, similarly to a month ago, the most noticeable is the uncertainty of the general economic situation and an increase in employment costs. Over the last 12 months, the shortage of qualified employees (especially drivers) and the size of employment costs have affected the activities of enterprises to the greatest extent. On the other hand, the severity of insufficient demand has decreased (due to the opening up of economies after the COVID-19 pandemic).
Entrepreneurs in the sector are no longer afraid of the effects of the pandemic – 90 percent of those interviewed in May expect to feel little or no effects of the pandemic.
Similarly, companies from the sector have already gotten used to the war in Ukraine. In May, more entities than in April expect little or no negative effects (71% against 64%), fewer expect serious effects (21% against 29%), and only slightly more – threatening the company’s stability (9% against 7 percent).
The most frequently experienced negative effects of the war include an increase in costs, disruptions in the supply chain, and a decrease in sales (revenues). In April this year, 33 percent of enterprises experienced an outflow of Ukrainian workers due to the war (against 27% in March this year). 7 percent of the surveyed companies assessed this outflow of labor as serious. Interestingly, not much less (25%) of companies recorded an inflow of workers from Ukraine (compared to 15% a month earlier).