Freight transport and logistics

Anticipated market development / %



German freight transport (based on tkm)



European rail freight transport (based on tkm)



European land transport (based on revenues)



Global air freight (based on t)



Global ocean freight (based on TEU)



Global contract logistics (based on revenues)



As of February 2023.
Forecasts for 2023 rounded to half percentage points.

Following a stagnation in freight transport performance in 2022, slight growth is expected in Germany in 2023. Uncertain energy prices and high purchase prices in particular can continue to affect the development of freight transport. In the first half of 2023, a decline in demand for most industrial and consumer goods is still assumed, with recovery expected from the second half of the year at the earliest. Supply bottle­necks that were still in place in 2022 should continue to diminish or be resolved entirely during 2023. The market will continue to be characterized by sustained competitive pressure. In addition to prices, transport quality will become increasingly important.

  • Rail freight transport will grow slightly in 2023 at about the previous year’s level. Automobile transport, which is above average due to catch-up effects, and the continued growth of combined transport are expected to offset the declines in energy-intensive sectors. The growing importance of sustainable transport and the broader approval of a traffic shift to rail transport should also contribute to growth. The development of coal transport remains uncertain. If the volumes in 2023 are not at the previous year’s level as expected, but instead collapse, the overall development will be negatively affected.
  • After a slight decline in 2022, road freight transport is expected to be slightly above the previous year’s level in 2023. Positive effects from the construction industry and the demand for consumer goods that recovered in the second half of the year are likely to have a stimulating effect. The shortage of drivers remains acute.
  • After the significant decline in inland waterway volume sold in 2022, no significant catch-up effects are expected for 2023, as the inland waterway transport sectors are expected to remain only at the previous year’s level. Container transport, which is expected to develop positively, but is rather insignificant for inland waterway transport, and an economic recovery in the second half of 2023 are expected to result in slight growth. Weather dependency remains a risk.

High energy prices and inflation are expected to continue to weigh on economic development and foreign trade in 2023, so little growth is expected for European rail freight transport. Catch-up effects and an economic recovery are expected to lead to moderate growth from 2024.

  • Revenues for the European land transport market are expected to be just below the previous year’s level in 2023. High energy prices and inflation weaken economic development and foreign trade in 2023; catch-up effects and an economic recovery are not expected to bring back moderate growth until 2024. It is expected that transport rates will continue to rise slightly.
  • In air freight, economic development in China continues to contribute to uncertainties regarding the availability and utilization of capacity on flight connections to and from China. The expected normalization of air traffic between Europe and North America and the associated expansion of the available cargo space continues to lead to increasing pressure on air freight rates in transatlantic transport. The slowdown in global trade and general economic development are also likely to adversely affect demand for air freight transport. After a poor start to the first quarter of 2023, a decline in transport volume is currently also expected for the full year.
  • The development of the ocean freight market in 2023 is marked by great uncertainty for all market participants. It depends, among other things, on the unpredictable development of capacity, due to the emissions regulations for older vessels, IMO 2023, falling freight rates, the possible impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is still ongoing globally, and changing consumer behavior as a result of economic developments. Global transport volume is expected to grow by 1.5% in 2023.
  • The development of the global contract logistics market strongly depends on the momentum of the global economy. The mix of an increasing risk of recession and rising prices in all sectors, scarce inventory capacity and disruptions to supply chains continues to cause great uncertainty and a slightly weakening development in contract logistics. Growth of just under 5% is expected. The high-growth e-commerce, healthcare and electronics sectors in particular contribute to this. At the same time, there is a growing demand for value-added services.
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