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WILTSHIRE, UK-A new report by Transport Intelligence (TI), a UK-based logistics research and analysis firm, finds a surprising level of confidence about the state of the logistics industry despite the general atmosphere of economic gloom. The company’s first Global Logistics Business Confidence Index, issued in February, surveyed more than 500 logistics executives around the world and resulted in an industry confidence reading of +6.4. The scale ranges from -100 to +100.

The confidence, however, does not encompass the immediate future. When asked to describe their confidence in the economic prospects over the next three months compared to the previous three months, respondents’ ratings dropped the index to -29.6. For the coming 12-month period, the index rose slightly but remained negative at -26.5. Most respondents believe it will take several years for the industry to fully regain its footing.

From a geographic perspective, respondents rated China the strongest market at present, with an overall index of +34.4. But in regard to coming months, the Asian giant’s logistics industry registered near or below the global average, with a three-month index of -28.1 and 12-month index of -31.3. India, by contrast, registered above the global average in all three time categories, while North America registered below average.

In regard to logistics sectors, the Intermodal industry ranked highest, with a current confidence rating of +24.3, while road Freight/Trucking and Express services ranked lower but still in the positive range. Sea Freight Forwarding and Shipping received negative rankings for current conditions, and all sectors fell into negative ratings over three months and 12 months.

In terms of specific products, the Pharmaceutical/Healthcare sector received a comparatively high confidence rating of +38.9 for current conditions and only somewhat weaker ratings for the coming three-month and 12-month periods. According to TI, consumers’ on-going need for drugs and treatments and the large element of government purchasing involve, tend to protect the sector from the cyclical changes and volatility that affect other categories. Meanwhile, the sector showing the least confidence at the moment is Industrial, which is struggling due to the decrease in capital investment and a reduction in construction projects.

“Our new Business Confidence Index shows that although there is a lot of negative sentiment in the market regarding its future prospects, on a global basis the industry is still just about keeping its head above water,” says TI chief executive John Manners-Bell. “Our survey has shown that some sectors are doing much better than others, such as Intermodal and Pharma logistics. Developing markets such as China and India are also still good places to be doing business.”

The company will issue the index every month.

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