Global Transportation: Exploring Revenue Trends and Fundamentals
Topic: Global Transportation: Exploring Revenue Trends and Fundamentals
The transportation sector is a broad category that includes industries such as shipping, trucking, airlines, parcel delivery and railroads. Transportation businesses operate in every economy, and sector revenues are primarily dictated by economic activity. According to FactSet, global transportation industry revenues reached $1.6 trillion in 2015. The data suggests that gross domestic product (GDP) is the largest determinant of transportation revenue contribution, while revenue growth trends are influenced by a variety of factors including economic growth, currency fluctuations and international trading activity.
GDP is closely related to global transportation revenues. Transportation services are a fundamental aspect of developed economies, so productivity and transportation activity tend to grow and contract hand in hand. International trade is another major driver of transportation revenue related to GDP, but distinct from raw productivity figures. Domestic transportation activities impact foreign trade statistics, and traded services often require minimal transportation, thanks to communication technology. Nonetheless, the transportation of goods and people often crosses national borders in the modern economy, influencing sector revenues. Oil prices are also a major determinant of transportation activity, revenue and profits, as low prices reduce transportation operating expenses, allowing companies to pass savings on to customers, and encouraging higher volume.
Revenue Contribution by Geography
According to FactSet, the Asia-Pacific region was the highest contributor to global transportation revenue in 2015, with 39% of total sales. The Americas followed at 32.9%, and Europe added 23.6%. Developed nations accounted for 71.5% of sector sales, while emerging economies contributed 23.8%, leaving only a small amount for underdeveloped frontier economies. These figures support the correlation between transportation revenue and GDP. The Asia-Pacific region has very large countries such as China, India and Indonesia, and wealthy countries such as Japan, South Korea and Australia. The Americas have exceptionally large countries such as Brazil and Mexico, and wealthy nations such as Canada. The Americas also have the United States, which is both large and developed.
For individual countries, the United States was the largest contributor to global transportation revenues in 2015, at 25.7% of annual sales. This figure was driven by the U.S. worldwide-high 2015 GDP of $18 trillion. In transportation revenue contributions, the United States was followed by Japan at 15.9% and China at 12.2%. Japan and China had GDPs of $4.1 trillion and $11.4 trillion in 2015, respectively. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea and Canada completed the group of largest contributors, with total exposure ranging from 2.3 to 5.3%. All of these countries are in the top 11 global contributors by global GDP. High-GDP countries notably absent from the top eight of transportation revenue contributors include India, Italy and Brazil.
Growth by Country
Of the largest contributors to global transportation revenues, the fastest year-over-year (YOY) revenue growth was seen in China at 5.6%, followed by the United Kingdom at 4.9%. Though China's GDP growth slowed in 2015, the country still managed 6.8%, which was rapid relative to other large economies struggling with difficult conditions. The United Kingdom achieved 2.5% GDP expansion, which was rapid relative to many other European economies. In this case, the United Kingdom was aided by the strengthening of the British pound relative to many global currencies during the year. The United States experienced 2.9% transportation revenue growth, French transportation sales grew 1.6% and South Korea sales grew 1.8%. Canada experienced a deep contraction of 9.2%, while Japan's and Germany's declines were more modest at 1.8% and 0.6%, respectively.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global merchandise trade declined 13% in 2015, while services trade only fell 6%. Merchandise trade was hit especially hard by tumbling energy and commodity prices, which helps explain Canada's rapid decline in transportation revenues, since Canada's economy is heavily exposed to raw material production and exportation. Exchange rate fluctuations also played a major role in trade declines, with depreciation of currencies such as the euro, the Japanese yen and South Korean won creating significant discrepancies between local-currency-denominated and dollar-denominated trade statistics.
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