The UK’s Q2 port freight statistics from the Department for Transport released today have shone a light on the impact on trade at the height of the pandemic.
When comparing April to June 2020 with April to June 2019 through the UK’s major ports:
Today’s figures fill a gap in data on the trade impact brought by the pandemic – previous DfT figures only told the story up to March – capturing the initial drop in tonnages and units handled by UK ports, where we saw a fall in volume of 6% compared to Q1 2019. Ports and shipping facilitates 95% of the UK’s physical trade so these provisional figures are a good indicator of economic performance.
News that the volume of freight tonnage decreased by 18% and unitised traffic dropped by 44% in Q2 confirms what the industry already knew; that the pandemic brought severe disruption to trade flows and demand in the economy.
Commenting, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy and Economic Analyst, at the British Ports Association said:
“The dramatic fall in unitised traffic during this period is not surprising, as containers and freight carried by trucks are a good barometer of the performance of the overall economy. This fall represents a decline in finished goods bound for the high street as well as raw materials for manufacturing sites; both of which largely suspended operations during the lockdown . . . .
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