The Stifel Nicolaus Logistics Confidence Index remained largely unchanged in May, for both air and ocean freight, with respect to current volumes. The indices for the expected situation six months from now saw marginal declines; although both modes are still expected to see a return to growth across all trade lanes.
The Stifel Nicolaus Logistics Confidence Index is calculated based on responses from a monthly survey completed by logistics professionals. The survey questions participants as to volumes that they are currently experiencing, relative to the time of year, as well as how they expect volumes to develop over the next six months. An index value of 50 indicates no change in volumes, above 50 indicates higher volumes and an index value below 50 indicates lower volumes.
Following a modest increase in April, the Air Freight Confidence Index registered a slight decline to 44.4 in May (from 44.7 in April) as the majority of forwarders continued to experience unchanged or lower volumes relative to the time of year. Sentiments remained weak among air forwarders as uncertainty surrounding the European economy prevailed.
In addition, the index for future expectations in air freight declined (-0.9 points) to 59.1 in May compared with 60.0 in April, however volumes are still expected to pick up over the next six months.
The Sea Freight Confidence Index was virtually unchanged in May at 45.9, from 46.0 in the previous month. This compared with a marginal increase recorded in April. Ocean forwarders continued to express slightly more optimism than air forwarders, with regards to the current situation. In terms of outlook, sea forwarders' confidence also fell slightly, with the index for expected situation down 1.4 points to 58.5 in May from 59.9 in April; however still indicating increased volumes, relative to the time of year.
John Manners-Bell, Ti's CEO, commented, "Economic concerns are still weighing heavily on both the air and sea freight forwarding sectors. Volumes are still below what would have been expected, but, as in previous indices, there is still considerable optimism in the industry. For this to be realised though, Europe must put its economic and fiscal house in order."
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