Global Transport: What does the future hold beyond COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a mobility crisis, mainly because of physical distancing requirements and the necessity to avoid confined spaces, to limit the virus’ propagation. This has had a disastrous impact on the global transport sector1, with air passenger transport being the most affected segment. According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), air traffic decreased by 94% year-on-year (YoY) in April 2020, and is not expected to return to its pre-COVID level before several years.
Moreover, other segments of the transport sector (maritime, rail) are also experiencing a strong deterioration in activity at the global level, even though some markets (such as rail freight between China and Europe) are benefiting from the situation. The crisis is also affecting planemakers and their suppliers, whose financial health heavily relies on aircraft activity.
COVID-19’s impact on global transport is all the more important as economic activity was already decelerating before the crisis. Additionally, the sector already had to deal with several issues and challenges, like the Boeing 737 MAX crisis for air transport. Overall, Coface does not expect the sector to recover to fourth quarter (Q4) 2019 level before 2022 and will be strongly impacted in 2020. In Coface’s central scenario, the turnover of listed companies of the global transport sector will be 32% lower in Q4 2020 than in Q4 2019. By contrast, in a “risk scenario”, in which a second wave of the pandemic materializes in Q3 2020, the turnover would be 57% lower in Q4 2020.
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