Continued recovery in rail freight across Europe, and a positive growth in passenger traffic in CEEC

Continued recovery in rail freight across Europe, and a positive growth in passenger traffic in CEEC

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Data collected by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) on the performance of the rail passenger and freight sectors in 3Q2011 shows a continued recovery of rail freight in all regions across Europe, and a positive growth in rail passenger transport in CEEC.  

Continued recovery for rail freight operators in Europe
 
The results of 3Q2011 show a continued trend in the recovery of rail freight traffic in Europe. The performance of the European rail freight market increased by 4.0% in 3Q2011 compared to the same period in the previous year. The rail freight sector grew in line with industrial production, which increased by 3.6%* over the same period. For the first nine months of 2011, rail freight traffic grew by almost 6.0% in Europe.
 
Compared to the same period in the previous year, tonne-kilometres in EU15(+CH) increased by 4.4% both in 3Q2011 and for the first nine months of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010. The recovery progressed at a similar pace in Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC), where freight operators were able to increase tonne-kilometres by 3.3% in 3Q2011 compared to the same period in the previous year. Profiting from a strong recovery in the first half of 2011, increased by 9.0% for the first nine months of 2011.
 
Despite this positive growth, tonne-kilometres in 3Q2011 remained below the pre-crises level of 3Q2008 by 8.1% in EU15(+CH) and by 11.3% in CEEC.

Graph 1: Quarterly Rail Freight Development (million tonne-kilometres)

Graph 2: Rail freight - comparison of 3Q2011 level to pre-crisis level (million tonne-kilometres)

Graph 3: Quarterly Rail Freight Development (million tonne-kilometres) in Europe

 

Graph 4: Rail freight - comparison of 3Q2011 level to pre-crisis level (million tonne-kilometres) in Europe
 
 
Continued positive growth of passenger traffic in CEEC
 
The performance of the rail passenger sector in EU15(+CH) saw a very moderate growth. Passenger-kilometres grew by 0.1% in 3Q2011 compared to the same period in the previous year. At the same time, the unemployment rate in EU15 worsened slightly from 9.6% in 3Q2010 to 9.7% in 3Q 20112. Overall, rail passenger-kilometres declined by 0.4% for first nine months of 2011. This decline follows a long period of continued growth and is largely the result of the positive impact of the ash cloud crisis in the second quarter of 2010, which lead to particularly strong growth in that period.
 
For a second quarter in a row, the rail passenger sector in CEEC saw positive growth. Compared to the same period in the previous year, passenger-kilometres increased by 2.0% in 3Q2011, despite of an increase in the EU12 unemployment rate from 10.0% in 3Q2010 to 10.1% in 3Q2011. This is an encouraging development, especially when considering that the rail passenger transport in CEEC has been declining since before the economic crisis struck Europe. For the first nine months in 2011, rail passenger transport in CEEC grew by almost 1.0%.
 
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman commented: “The recovery of the rail freight sector across Europe and the positive growth in rail passenger transport for two quarters in CEEC is an encouraging development. It shows that the railways are on the right track. At the same time, the sector has to keep up this good performance despite the economically tough times.”

* Industry Production Index, Eurostat November 2011
** Unemployment Rate, Eurostat November 2011