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Market Report, "Netherlands Freight Transport Report Q1 2014", published

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2014-01-26 15:27:42 - New Transportation research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research

A Return To Positive Growth Expected For 2014

Most indicators showed that the Dutch economy was still struggling in the second half of 2013, but we are forecasting a recovery in 2014 based on an upturn in regional trade trends. GDP fell by 0.2% quarter-onquarter in Q213, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of retrenchment and leaving no doubt that the Netherlands is in recession. The biggest casualty has been household spending, held back by falling property prices and high unemployment. Retail sales have been falling since early 2011; industrial output is weak; and business confidence is low (although there are signs that it is bottoming out). On the plus side, real exports have begun to grow, and although the improvement is

small, we expect them to be the main motor of recovery in 2014. Indeed, the economy is heavily integrated with the eurozone through its well anchored current account surplus, meaning that economic growth is bolstered during times of strong global demand and is left particularly vulnerable during cyclical downturns. The Netherlands is also particularly unique among its eurozone peers in that it is a major platform for re-exporting goods that arrive at Dutch ports to the rest of Europe.

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In terms of core forecasts, we maintain that following a year of real GDP contraction in 2013, the Dutch economy will return to positive economic growth in 2014 alongside the broader recovery in the eurozone. Indeed, we project real GDP to fall by 0.6% in 2013 and to expand by 1.1% in 2014. We expect growth to peak at 1.8% in 2016 before tapering off to 1.2% by the end of our forecast period in 2023.

Consistent with our macro-economic view we expect freight activity levels across all transport modes to be higher in 2014 than they were in 2013. In most cases the improvement is a matter of one or two percentage points in volume growth rates. It is important to point out that because of the Netherland's role as a European gateway, growth will also in most cases outstrip the improvement we are projecting for GDP.

Headline Industry Data

* Port of Rotterdam bulk throughput forecast for 2014: growth of 2.6% to 462.247mn tonnes. Container traffic to expand by 2.1% to 12.261mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
* 2014 port of Amsterdam bulk throughput forecast to grow by 2.1% to 79.853mn tonnes. Container traffic to grow by 1.3% to 44,333 TEUs.
* 2014 rail freight total tonnage volume growth to come in at 2.7%, to reach 39.502mn tonnes.
* 2014 road freight total tonnage volume growth at 2.6%, to reach 570.916mn tonnes.
* 2014 inland waterway freight total tonnage volume growth to be at 2.5% to reach 359.475mn tonnes.
* 2014 total trade growth forecast set at 4.4% in real terms - a recovery on the 2.8% growth rate estimated for 2013.
* Export growth remains slow at 2.5% in 2014, but imports set to accelerate to 6.2%.

Key Industry Trends

Meg-Ship Docks In Rotterdam: The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the first of 20 Triple E-Class 18,000 TEUs capacity vessels now being incorporated into the global container ship fleet, delivered its first cargo of containers from the Far East to APM Terminals in Rotterdam in August 2013. At 400m (nearly a quarter of a mile) in length and 59 m wide, it is the largest vessel currently afloat of any kind, reaching 73 m in height (as tall as a 24-story building). During the unloading phase APM Terminals Rotterdam set a new productivity record on the mega-ship with berth and crane productivity of 215 and 37.1 gross moves/hour respectively.

Air France - KLM Reducing Freighter Fleet: French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM registered an operating loss of EUR84mn (US$113.28mn) from its cargo business for the three months to end-September 2013, compared with a loss of EUR69mn (US$93.05mn) in Q312. The company said it had decided to continue its maindeck cargo business, in spite of further reductions in its freighter complement. The airline will phase out four of its current 14 freighters in the next two years. Eight KLM and Martinair freighters will be based at Schiphol and two Air France freighters will be based at Paris Charles de Gaulle by 2015. Air France would lose its last B747s, while Martinair would shed a B747-400ERF and an MD-11 freighter. KLM would also be phasing out its B747-400 combi fleet in the 2016-2020 period. The remaining freighters would be operated directly instead of sub-contracts.

TNT Faces Difficult Market Conditions: Netherlands-based logistics company TNT Express has reported a drop of 25% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q313 profits on 7% lower revenue, reports the Journal of Commerce. The company's net income also saw a decline to US$8.3mn in the three-month period while revenue totalled US$2.22bn in the period. TNT's operating income fell by 85% y-o-y to US$12.36mn against US$85.20 in the same quarter in 2012. The company is intensifying its restructuring measures to combat difficult market conditions and said it has already achieved US$13.74mn in savings in Q313 with a forecast to hit US$41.23mn for the full-year.

About Business Monitor International

Business Monitor International (BMI) offers a comprehensive range of products and services designed to help senior executives, analysts and researchers assess and better manage operating risks, and exploit business opportunities, across 175 markets. BMI offers three main areas of expertise: Country Risk BMI's country risk and macroeconomic forecast portfolio includes weekly financial market reports, monthly regional Monitors, and in-depth quarterly Business Forecast Reports. Industry Analysis BMI covers a total of 17 industry verticals through a portfolio of services, including in-depth quarterly Country Forecast Reports. View more research from Business Monitor International at

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