Global container traffic down 26% last year

PARIS — The International Transport Forum, a think tank related to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, says world container traffic fell 26 percent in 2009.

The ITF attempt to quantify the impact of the global economic crisis on world trade also revealed that in 2009, air freight ton-km dropped by 10 percent, rail ton-km fell 23 percent, and road ton-km fell just over 21 percent.

Rail freight data specific to the United States show a decline of nearly 14 percent during the same period.

Short-term data indicate that recovery in transport started towards the end of 2009. For example, the decline in rail freight came to an end in Q3 of 2009 in a number of countries. However, overall rail freight figures remain at depressed levels compared to their pre-crisis levels.

The report also shows that in Western Europe, the U.S. and Japan, the share of transport infrastructure investment as a share of GDP continued to decline to below 0.8 percent in 2008 (1995: 1%).

In Eastern and Central Europe, the strong recent acceleration in the volume of infrastructure investment has shown no signs of slowdown: Investment in inland transport infrastructure increased over 17 percent in real terms from 2007 to 2008, with only 2.5 percent growth in Western European countries.

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