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European Road Freight Transport Activity Ranking 2016

The European RFT sector finishes 2016 with a record high rate of growth of +4.6%. 22 European flags of out 29 present in the ranking benefit from this boom but the gap in the growth rates between West and East Europe remains and the national results are pretty heterogeneous. In the West, while the United Kingdom (+11.2%), Spain (+3.6%), Portugal (+9.6%) or Luxembourg score well, some flag holders such as Germany (+0.3%) or France (+1.5%) stagnate and others shrink compared to 2015 as in the case of Italy (-3.6%) or Belgium (-2.7%). In the East, the very high growth rates are not rare : Poland (+11.5%), Romania (+23.5%) or Lithuania (+16.9%). However, two Eastern flags stand out from the group with negative evolutions in 2016 : the Czech Republic (-12%) and Latvia (-3.2%). 

The growth of Western flags is based on domestic RFT activity, which scores +3.8% against only +0.5% for the international routes. In the East, the goods results mainly come from the international activity, +10.8% against +3,8% for domestic routes. The accelerating specialization of the Eastern flags in international RFT activity demonstrated by steep rising cross-trade RFT activity (+14.2%) and skyrocketing cabotage (+36%). These two relatively new markets, born with the liberalization of the European RFT in late 90’s are essentially dominated by the New Member States. Besides, Western flags are concentrating on their domestic market, which is itself jeopardized by the fast rise of cabotage.

CNR’s country studies show that remaining differences in driving staff’s cost explain most of the East/West divide. The Czech flag whose costs increase since a few years seems to go through a similar situation to that of its Western counterparts. 

You may find the data and additional explanations in the European RFT Ranking 2016 available for download.