The quarterly index looked at the overall freight transport and storage sectors' performance. Photographer: Armand Hough, ANA.
The quarterly index looked at the overall freight transport and storage sectors' performance. Photographer: Armand Hough, ANA.

Ctrack releases quarterly performance of rail, road and air freight

By BR Reporter Time of article published May 28, 2021

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Rail freight continues to lose market share, a trend that has been exacerbated by the derailment of coal. This is according to a Ctrack Freight Transport Index released recently.

The quarterly index looked at the overall freight transport and storage sectors' performance.

Ctrack is a vehicle tracking, fleet management and insurance telematics solutions company. According to the company, rail freight has continued its downward trend due to the theft of rail infrastructure.

“Rail freight volumes are 177 points down on a year ago,” it said.

According to the company, road freight, which is now the biggest sector of the index, has reached an all-time high of 119.7.

“This growth signals a full recovery for road freight following the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, although this was at the expense of rail freight. The 119.7 all-time high is just 0.1 index points above the previous high of May 2018,” said Ctrack.

The company said if there were no further hard lockdowns, road freight was expected to continue growing, although at a slower rate, than during the recovery phase.

“This trend could slow further if the oil price increases significantly and some goods head back to the rail,” it added.

Ctrack SA managing director Hein Jordt said: “The recovery in road freight is clear to see with over 6 000 trucks a day passing the Tugela toll plaza, which is very close to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, other truck indicators report very high truck counts in metropolitan areas such as Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg and Tshwane,”

“Furthermore, record agricultural harvests in many sub-sectors ranging from maize to grapes have boosted road freight because rail no longer serves many of the rural areas,” added Jordt.

The index also revealed that air freight returned another excellent performance, recovering to near-record levels, albeit from a shallow base.

“Air freight has grown 45.7% on a smoothed basis but more than doubled when one analyses the raw unsmoothed data,” it said.

“Air freight has now maintained near record levels for the last two months, the demand fuelled by high-value products such as mobile phones, tablets, and precious metals,” it added.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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