Crisis or not, global rail supply market expected to grow

Photo: Pixabay Henryk Niestrój

The global rail supply market is expected to expand by 19,5 per cent to 211 billion euros in the coming five years, the latest edition of the World Rail Market Study by the European Rail Supply Industry Association (UNIFE) shows.

The forecast growth trajectory would mean an average expansion of some 3 per cent per year through 2027. It follows a small contraction of 0,2 per cent in the 2019-2021 period compared to 2017-2019.

The report compiled by consultancy firm Roland Berger shows that growth will be highest in selected markets in Africa and the Middle East, as well as in Eastern Europe. However, infrastructure investments in such countries as China, France and Germany remain the greatest.

Since the last study, the distance of tracks worldwide grew by 39,000 kilometres to around 1,7 billion kilometres. Urban and inter-urban railway systems, particularly in China, were the main drivers of growth.

Market access remains area of concern

The UNIFE report sees promising signs in the rollout of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), the Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) and Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC). It also highlights the potential benefits of predictive maintenance, 5G applications, improved passenger information and ticketing solutions. The report also expects the European Green Deal to be an important driver of continued growth.

There are areas of improvement, too, such as obstacles to market entry. According to UNIFE, 61 per cent of the global rail market is currently open to International rail suppliers. This, the association says, hinders the application of innovative new technologies and presents an obstacle to the efforts to decarbonise transport.

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Author: Nick Augusteijn

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