The outlook for 2021 is obscured by one phenomenon in particular: the coronavirus epidemic. How will the pandemic affect transportation trends in the coming year? What else will shape them?
Coronavirus-driven transport crisis
The freezing of numerous industries meant that the trouble caused by the coronavirus could not bypass the transport sector at various levels as well. First of all, international transport suffered, where air and rail traffic was frozen for several months, but national and local connections were also affected. Freight transport has of course suffered, but here things took a less pessimistic turn
It is worth noting, however, that the problems of transport business, which only in the threshold branch is responsible for 7% of Polish GDP, started earlier. Their symptoms were already seen in the second half of 2019
Crisis not so deep. How will 2021 fare in freight transport?
As early as April, Polska Gazeta Logistyczna reported that the mood of entrepreneurs is not as pessimistic as it could have been assumed. Domestic transport entrepreneurs are reacting well to the changes dictated by the coronavirus. Out of 800 domestic logistics entrepreneurs interviewed, as many as ⅓ declare that their market position will not deteriorate. Few see a chance for development in the current situation. The mood is worse in international goods transport. Here, national regulations will play a major role.
Key trends – flexibility and diversification of supply routes
Specific regulations introduced by individual governments, which may come into force again in the autumn, force hauliers to be flexible. Those who are able to adapt to the regulations will lose the least in the market.
Stagnant supply chains, particularly with regard to China, are also expected to lead to a desire for supplier diversification. Trucking companies may have to adapt to new courses of action.
Courier transport – the beneficiary of a pandemic
The social isolation caused by the pandemic has had a very positive effect on the e-commerce market. Customers are more and more convinced to this branch of trade. This trend should continue. It is expected that the growth will be felt to such an extent that the entire market, estimated in 2018 at 45 billion PLN, will probably reach 70 billion in 2021. It is worth noting that favorable conditions for the development of sales of clothing or electronics already existed in previous years, but it was only the pandemic that showed Poles that purchasing food items through this route can be very convenient.
What will happen to passenger transport?
The pandemic situation has put transport companies in a very bad situation. It is estimated that airports have lost 70% of their passengers
The Association of International Road Carriers has shared data showing that inter-country passenger transport during the lockdown was reduced by 97%.
Trouble could continue due to the threat of airline closures to countries with too high a disease rate. In rail traffic and small transport, only the end of vacations brought back many connections from the old network.
The year 2021 will see a slow restoration of confidence in public transport. It is forecast, however, that this will happen much more quickly for domestic transport than for international flights.
2021 – The year of the railroads
What about railroads? The European Commission has declared 2021 as the European Year of Railways. Special emphasis is to be placed on investment plans for rail transport, which is in line with the implementation of the European Green Deal in the field of transport. A significant part of inland transport, which will be shifted from European roads, is to be allocated to railroads.