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Freight transport demand by mode and group of goods

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This content has been archived on 12 Dec 2014, reason: Other (New version data-and-maps/indicators/freight-transport-demand-version-2/assessment-4 was published)

Assessment made on  01 Oct 2003

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

gdp | freight | transport
DPSIR: Driving force


Indicator codes
  • TERM 013
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Break the link between economic growth and freight transport growth


Key assessment

AC + CC:
Following the economic downturn after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, a general trend can be observed of declining freight transport demand in the early 1990s, up to 1992/93. After 1992/93, freight transport demand, closely following economic recovery, increased rapidly. An important factor behind increasing transport demand is the opening-up of the borders between the EU and the ACs. The European Union is by far the most important trading partner of the 10 acceding and the 3 candidate countries. Between 1993 and 1999, the total value of trade increased almost threefold to EUR 210 billion. At 13.7 % of total trade, the candidate countries as a group are the EU's second trade partner, after the USA.
Overall transport demand in the 8 acceding countries increased with 7 % in the 1996-2000 period to 320 billion tonne-km. Road transport was the most important mode in freight transport, and showed also the strongest growth: 19 % between 1996 and 2000. Rail transport and inland waterway both decreased between 1996 and 2000, with 9 and 16 % respectively. Oil pipeline transport grew with 13 % between 1996 and 1999.

EEA 17:
Between 1991 and 2000 total freight transport demand in the Member States increased by a third from 2 300 to over 3 000 billion tonne-km. Over this period, the average EU annual growth rate of freight transport (3.2 % per year) was considerably higher than that of GDP (2.1 % per year). The decrease in freight transport between 1991-1993 reflects the reduction in economic activity of that period. Since 1996, freight transport grew even more rapidly than the average rate, reaching 4 to 5 % growth per year.All modes in freight transport experienced growth on the European level in the 1991-2000 period. The most extensive growth was in road transport and short sea shipping, with an average yearly growth rate of 4.0 and 3.3 % respectively. Rail freight transport has grown with 0.8 %, inland shipping with 1.7 % and transport through oil pipelines with 1.0 %.Portugal, Luxembourg and Ireland - countries showing high growth in GDP - show the highest increase in freight transport demand between 1991 and 2000 (taken into account road, rail, inland shipping and oil pipelines). North-European countries (Sweden, Finland and Denmark) show the lowest increase in freight transport demand.


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