The Russian road freight market is recovering from a downturn

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2020, road cargo transportation decreased to the minimum level of 2016, judging by the volume of delivered goods.

But there are still positive trends.

If we compare with 2019, the indicators for 2020 are not very encouraging: in general, over the year, the freight turnover of road transport decreased by 1.4%.

In the market for other types of cargo transportation, the situation is also pessimistic:

  1. Railway: minus 2.2%.
  2. Air: minus 3.8%.

Only sea transportation stands apart, showing the dynamics of + 16.2%. There are so many orders for them today that there are not enough containers, so this is causing an exuberant demand and a rapid rise in prices.

Alternative statistics from the ATI.SU freight exchange: is the market recovering?


At the same time, a number of questions can be asked about the results of Rosstat. For example: were the numbers collected from all road transport companies, or only from large ones? Was the data of illegal companies taken into account, which became noticeably more numerous during the period of coronavirus bans?

Obviously, Rosstat correctly reflects mainly the situation with large players. But the freight exchange ATI. SU declares that not everything is so bad. If we compare the months of 2020 with the same months of 2019 by the number of applications, the alignment will be as follows:

  1. March : growth + 23%. At this time, «pandemic hysteria» had already begun, and most retailers ordered more items than usual, fearing a shortage. Moreover, the buyers emptied all the shelves in panic.
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  3. April (first month of lockdown): drop -18%.
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  5. May (second month of lockdown): drop -20%.

During these two months most of the Russians were locked up at home, many enterprises did not work, and many people did not receive their salaries. The demand for almost all goods and services naturally fell.

However, already June showed a significant increase in comparison with spring: the volume of cargo transportation did not differ from last year’s June. But in July and August there was a clear tendency to «catch up»: + 16% in both months. In September — as much as + 27%.

Also in September, the «second wave of coronavirus» began in Russia, when the number of cases increased by 3-4 times compared to the spring. However, the economy and markets almost did not feel this wave: there was no lockdown, and everyone worked as usual.

All of this suggests that, although the road freight market has sagged this year, this is a “spring sagging”: with great potential for reverse growth.

And, by the way, even if we are guided by the data of the Federal State Statistics Service, road transportation with its value of -1.4% of the cargo turnover is in second place after sea transport: all other types of transportation have gone into negative territory even deeper.

So there is every reason to hope that this year the situation will improve.