A quarterly index of 4,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK has revealed that Q4 2013 saw the highest level of business activity growth in the transport and haulage sector since 2010.
The Business Factors Index, produced by specialist business funder Bibby Financial Services, tracks the monthly turnover of businesses across five industry sectors – manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services. Its base point of 100 was established when the index began in 2007.
Echoing the official GDP figures announced by the Office for National Statistics on January 28, the Business Factors Index indicates record levels of growth across the board and a particularly strong performance in transport and haulage.
Levels of growth within the sector are up 13.1 points on quarter 3 of 2013 to 116.6, and up 13.5 on the same period last year. Not since quarter four of 2010 have activity levels been this high, and the quarterly change is one of the highest since the Index began in 2007.
David Postings, UK CEO at Bibby Financial Services, says: "The Business Factors Index is a very specific examination of turnover levels, in terms of invoices being issued, by 4,000 SME firms in the UK. As such we feel it provides an interesting snapshot of business performance.
"Bibby Financial Services’ clients encompass a wide range of small and medium-sized transport and haulage businesses. Many have come through huge challenges in terms of the economic downturn from 2008 onwards and it is therefore positive to see that many are in better shape and generated more business at the end of last year than at the end of 2012."
Overall, the index shows positive growth with particularly positive performances in manufacturing and wholesale. Increased activity in these sectors will have a positive impact on the transport and haulage industry – as production and orders increase, so does the demand for transport services.
Postings adds: "The Index figures for the transport sector for Q4 2013 are in line with what we anticipated given the high levels of growth across the board. Nevertheless, it is certainly encouraging, especially given the low point many of these firms reached during the downturn."
Bibby Financial Services says the record levels of business activity seen during Q4 2013 will serve to underpin hopes of a sustained recovery taking hold in 2014, following four consecutive quarters of GDP growth.
Postings adds: "Our latest Business Factors Index emphasises the vital role played by SME businesses in driving the recovery. It is these types of businesses that will be the key to a long and sustained economic recovery, and it’s important that they continue to receive the support and financial backing that they need to ensure a healthy 2014 and beyond."