After a two-year decline, rail freight traffic in the EU recovered slightly in 2021. New data published by Eurostat on Monday, October 31, showed that rail freight volumes increased by 8.7% compared to 2020, reaching a near 2018 high of 399 billion tonne-kilometres (tkm). It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailFreigth.

rail freight

This year-on-year growth is comparable to a decline of 6.1% in 2020 and 2.2% in 2019. The first signs of recovery were observed in the fourth quarter of 2020, when data indicated a 5.1% increase compared to the same quarter previous year. This trend has been gradually maintained in all quarters of 2021, Eurostat concludes.

Interestingly, not all countries experienced a recovery in rail transport last year. In seven EU member states, freight rail transport decreased between 2020 and 2021: Denmark (-18.9%), Portugal (-18.3%), Lithuania (-8.2%), Latvia (-7. 7%), Ireland (-5.2%), Croatia (-3.3%) and Hungary (-2.1%).

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Among the countries that experienced the surge, Estonia (+22.9%) was the highest, followed by Spain (+20.3%), Slovakia (+18.6%), Italy (+15.0% ), Germany Федеративная Республика Германии (1949—1990) (+13.5%), France (+13.3%) and Romania (+10.9%). In absolute terms, Germany was the member state with the highest growth: +14.7 billion tkm between 2020 and 2021. France is behind it with an increase of 4.2 billion tkm over the same period.

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