Modal split of inland freight transport
Total inland freight transport in the EU-28 was estimated to be over 2 200 billion tonne-kilometres (tkm) in 2013; some three quarters of this freight total was transported over roads (see Figure 1). The road freight data used for this analysis have been adjusted in order to allow for a comparison of the three modes in terms of the transport actually performed in each territory; this in contrast to the road freight data shown in Table 1 which are based on where vehicles are registered, rather than where the transport takes place. More detailed information about the adjustments made to road freight data are available in a separate article focused exclusively on the modal split of fright transport.
The share of EU-28 inland freight that was transported by road (74.9 %) was more than four times as high as the share transported by rail (18.2 %), while the remainder (6.9 %) of the freight transported in the EU-28 in 2013 was carried along inland waterways. Compared with the modal split in 2008, the share of inland freight carried by roads was 0.6 percentage points lower in 2013, while the share transported by inland waterways had increased by the same amount, as the share transported by rail remained stable. It should be noted that this analysis refers only to inland freight transport and that considerable amounts of freight may be transported by maritime freight services and for some product groups by air transport or by pipelines. Note also that all inland freight transport to more shipping supplies within Cyprus and Malta was by road due to the absence of any railways or inland waterway infrastructure; this was also the case in Iceland.
Road transport accounted for more than 90 % of inland freight transport in Ireland, Greece and Spain in 2013. By contrast, road transport accounted for just over one third of the inland freight transported in Estonia (36.3 %) and Lithuania (33.4 %) and just under one fifth in Latvia (18.8 %); in all three of these Baltic Member States the remainder — between three and four fifths of the total — was transported by rail. Between one third and two fifths of the inland freight transported in Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia was carried by rail in 2013; this was also the case in Switzerland.
More than one tenth of total inland freight in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium was transported on inland waterways in 2013, with this share increasing to more than one quarter in Bulgaria and Romania, and peaking in the Netherlands at 47.1 %, the same share as recorded for the freight on Dutch roads.
Relative growth of freight transport and the economy
Inland freight transport grew at a slower pace in the EU-27 than constant price gross domestic product (GDP) during the period from 2003–13; this can be seen from the index shown in Figure 2, as the index value in 2013 was 2.9 % lower than in 2003.
Comparing with the situation in 2003, Bulgaria and Slovenia recorded the greatest increases in inland freight transport relative to GDP, with their respective indices more than 70 % higher in 2013. The rate of change in inland freight transport was at least 25 % higher than the overall growth in economic activity during the period 2003–13 in Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Lithuania. By contrast, the ratio of inland freight transport to GDP fell at its most rapid pace between 2003 and 2013 in Cyprus, Ireland, Estonia, Austria and Belgium, in each case down by more than 30 %.