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International Trasport Forum report has revealed that road freight grew in 2020

International Trasport Forum report has revealed that road freight grew in 2020
photo: Archives/Railway
21 / 12 / 2021

International Transport Forum (ITF) published an annual report that showed the continual growth of road freight in 2020. Freight volumes between 2020 and the pre-Covid days grew according to specific countries and transportation methods. ITF created this chart of the growth rate of land freight transports in 2017-2019 and 2020 by country.

When comparing the growth rates between 2020 and the baseline period for OECD countries, average tonnage increased in Norway (+14%), Belgium (+9%), and Turkey (+7%). TEU had the highest compound annual growth rates during the referenced period in Norway and Belgium (both +14%), Turkey (+8%), and Greece (+6%). The next chart shows the Containers loaded and unloaded in seaports in OECD countries, 2010-2020.

Container transportations in seaports steadily grew between 2010 and 2019 in OECD states, both following the terms of average tonnage and TEUs (+42%; Figure 2), with a slow down over the 2017-2019 period (+8%). On the other hand, 2020 showed stability from the base period of 2017-2019, as the gross tonnage decreased slightly by -0.1% between the baseline and 2020, while TEU decreased by 0.9% between the same periods.


Most regions had success in the reduction of road fatalities since 2010, the decline has been more notable in 2020, undoubtedly due to the pandemic. EU together with Turkey in the region with the most evident fatality decrease between 2020 and the baseline period (-20%), followed by Japan and Korea (-18%), Israel and Chile, and Mexico (both -12%). The only countries with increasing road fatalities were USA and Canada, with a 5% increase for the whole area, led by the USA (+5% compared to -6% for Canada). The third chart reflects the Road fatalities by region 2010-2020.

 Out of 36 countries, only 15 provided their 2020 data on the decrease of road freight. Nineteen countries, unfortunately, showed an increase over the same time period. 

Azerbaijan road freight dropped the most among ITF (-48%), followed by Portugal (-26%), Estonia (-23%), and Hungary (-16%). The Czech Republic, on the contrary, had the most significant increase (+35%), followed by Poland (+23%), Lithuania (+22%), Serbia, and Bulgaria (both +18%).


For 29 ITF states, rail freight licensed during the same period (-50% for Latvia, -39% for Moldova, -27% in Estonia, -23% in Luxembourg, and -17% in the Netherlands). However, it increased for 12 countries in 2020 from the baseline, especially in Greece (+32%), Croatia (+19%), and Bulgaria (+16%). 

ITF created and published a list of important facts related to this topic.

-        Rail tonne-kilometers declined in almost all ITF countries with available data for 2020 (Figure 1), with the most significant decrease in Latvia (-50%).

-        Road freight transport increased in most countries (Figure 1), with tonne-kilometers growing most in the Czech Republic (+35%).

-        Container shipments at seaports stabilized in 2020 compared to the 2017-2019 baseline period in OECD countries, with a slight decrease of -0.1% for gross tonnage (Figure 2), whereas it had grown between 2010 and 2019 (+42%).

-        Both rail and car passenger transport decreased in all ITF countries with available data (Figure 3), especially in Canada for rail (-86%) and Kazakstan for cars (-52%). 

-        Road fatalities decreased in almost all regions. Most notably, in European countries and Turkey (-20% on average), except in the United States (+5%).


Source of information and graphs: International Transport Forum