The global economic crisis and the collapse of world trade in 2009 had a major impact on the transport sector, according to first-hand statistical figures for 2009 published by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD.
World container traffic (TEUs) fell by 26 percent in 2009, while airfreight ton-km dropped by 10 percent. Preliminary data for 2009 also indicate a 23-percent reduction in rail ton-km and a reduction of just over 21 percent in road ton-km in the European Union. Rail freight data for the United States and Russia show declines of nearly 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively, during the same period.
Short-term data indicate that recovery in transport started towards the end of 2009. For example, the decline in rail freight came to an end in Q3 of 2009 in a number of countries. However, overall rail freight figures remain at depressed levels compared to their pre-crisis levels.
In the more mature economies of Western Europe, the U.S. and Japan, the share of transport infrastructure investment as a share of GDP continued to decline to below 0.8 percent in 2008 (1995: 1 percent). In Eastern and Central Europe, the strong recent acceleration in the volume of infrastructure investment has shown no signs of slowdown: Investment in inland transport infrastructure increased over 17 percent in real terms from 2007 to 2008, with only 2.5 percent growth in Western European countries.
The data are contained in two publications highlighting major global transport trends since 1970 and released by the Paris-based think-tank in the run-up to its annual global mobility summit to be held in Leipzig, Germany, from May 26-28.
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