March 2020 truck toll mileage dips in Germany: BAG

The mileage of trucks with at least four axles on federal motorways in Germany, subject to tolls, decreased by a seasonally adjusted 5.9 per cent in March 2020 compared to February 2020, according to the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) and the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

March 2020 statistics show the largest drop ever recorded month-on-month since the introduction of the truck toll in 2005.

The most recent drop in truck mileage was similar during the global financial and economic crisis: In January 2009, the seasonally adjusted truck toll mileage index decreased by 4.3 per cent compared to the previous month. Since truck mileage is closely related to industrial production in Germany, the index can provide early indications of economic developments. The index is now temporarily updated and published every working day.

The BAG and the Federal Statistical Office are intensifying their information from toll statistics due to uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting 14 April results will go from monthly to daily updates carried out by Deutsche Bundesbank  which will be published in a calendar and seasonally adjusted form.

“Economic activity generates and requires transport services – that is why there is a close connection between the economic development and truck traffic on German roads,” BAG said in a statement. “In the course of the truck toll collection, digital process data is generated, among other things, on the mileage of trucks subject to toll in Germany. From this, the BAG developed the truck toll mileage index, which tracks the mileage. Due to its rapid availability and economic significance, the Federal Statistical Office has prepared the index as a seasonally adjusted economic indicator and has been using it in its publication program since December 2018.”

BAG has evaluated toll data since January 2008. Both the scope of the toll road network and the total weight of vehicles and vehicle combinations on which the toll is based have changed over time. With the truck toll mileage index, such structural changes are largely excluded, so that the economic development is more visible.

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