- THE MAGAZINE
With the Eurozone crisis in full swing freight traffic for logistics operatives reliant on import and export trade with the worst affected countries is naturally far from buoyant. UK based container and international road haulage specialists trading with Ireland, Spain and Greece all report similar problems with imbalances between exported and imported cargo due to the drop in the value of the euro and the lack of funds available to consumers.
At Dublin Port, the figures just released for the period January to May, principally for container and road trailer borne traffic, show a 2 percent drop according to local press reports. Dublin handles around half of Ireland’s overseas marine cargo and, whilst exports fell just 0.7 percent, imports declined 2.3 percent in the period concerned. Trailer and container operators always aspire to that perfect balance between the two trades and the larger the disparity, the trickier it becomes to maintain equilibrium of rates.
Just last month the Dublin Port Company paid a €10.2 million dividend to the State based on its profits last year bringing the total paid to its only shareholder to €46.8 million over the past six years and the prediction last year was for 2 percent growth in the period studied. Meanwhile Greek and Spanish markets are being similarly afflicted.
The stresses within the countries' domestic economies will continue to impact on their import trade particularly. Whilst a falling euro should have the effect of increasing overseas sales thus boosting exports it seems that the acceleration is too slow at present to have a meaningful effect and the imbalance caused bears its own problems.
Additionally some markets have been suffering from a variety of debilitating factors for some time. Many Greek road haulage operators, in common with those in other EU countries, blame the influx of cheaper Eastern European hauliers into the market for many of their problems as they have been uncompetitive on rates for the past few years and witnessed a steadily dwindling return on their investments with many going to the wall as a result or relying purely on domestic trade.