ITF Transport Outlook 2015 | 27 January 2015
Global trade: International freight transport to quadruple by 2050

Shifting trade patterns increase transport distances by 12%, North Pacific surpasses North Atlantic as main trading route

In the face of shifting global trade patterns, international freight transport volumes will grow more than fourfold (factor 4.3) by 2050. Average transport distance across all modes will increase 12%.

- As a result, CO2 emissions from freight transport will grow by 290% by 2050. Freight will replace passenger traffic as main source of CO2 emissions from surface transport.

- The North Pacific route will surpass the North Atlantic as the world’s most busy trading corridor in terms of freight volume (in tonne-km), growing 100 percentage points faster than the North Atlantic. The Indian Ocean corridor will see large growth, with freight volume quadrupling.

- Intra-African (+715%) and intra-Asian (+403%) freight volumes will see particularly strong growth to 2050. Road transport will dominate here due to lack of other modes.

- The share of domestic transport of international freight flows, identified here for the first time, accounts for 10% of trade-related international freight, but 30% of CO2 emissions. This is important: Domestic transport is shaped by national policies, less by international agreements.

These are some of the key findings of the ITF Transport Outlook 2015, presented on 27 January 2015 at the OECD headquarters in Paris, France.

“The foreseeable increase in global freight represents an unprecedented challenge for the world’s transport systems“, said ITF Secretary-General José Viegas at the launch. “Increasing capacity constraints in transport can act as a brake on economic growth.”

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