Combined transport in Europe in 2023 down by 10%

Image: UIRR

Combined transport in Europe in 2023 dropped by 10.57 per cent the number of consignments transported and by 9.39 per cent in the tonne-kilometre performance. This means that these volumes are roughly back at pre-COVID 19 levels after four years of moderate growth between 2019 and 2022.

UIRR said this downward trend was caused by an “unfortunate mix of economic downturn, high inflation, war-effects, strikes, natural disasters, accidents and extensive works”, that simultaneously hit Europe throughout 2023. The first three factors affected the European economy in general, while the remaining four were specific to the rail and transport sectors.

Combined transport data 2019-2023. Image: © UIRR

When it comes to strikes, the main actors were France and Germany. German operator Deutsche Bahn, for example, spent most of 2023 negotiating with trade unions EVG and GDL. The natural disasters mentioned by UIRR likely refer to various floods that affected both northern and southern Europe last year. Moreover, a landslide in August left the Frejus Railway, between Italy and France, completely unaccessible still to this day. Concerning accidents, the main one for combined transport in 2023 was the train derailment in the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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