Europe EU freight transport: Still no shift from road to rail

The transfer of freight transport from road to rail and inland waterways is not progressing in the EU. The share of EU freight transported by rail in 2021 amounted to just 17%. The inland waterways' proportion was 6%. On the other hand, road transport continued to increase: while around 74% of freight transport was handled by road in 2011, this figure had further increased to 77% by 2021.

Raising the share of rail and inland waterways in freight transport is part of the EU SDG indicator set for measuring sustainable development (goal 9). By 2050, the EU intends to become climate neutral in accordance with the European Green Deals.

Railway share: Germany slightly above EU average

The importance of rail freight transport varies from one EU country to another. The highest shared in 2021 were recorded in the three Baltic states Lithuania (63%), Latvia (53%) and Estonia (40%). In Slovenia, around 34% of freight transport was carried by rail, in Austria 30%. Germany was slightly above the EU average of 17% at 19%.

The modal split is calculated on a tonne-kilometre basis. In this survery only land transport modes were taken into account in the survey - pipelines, air and maritime transport were excluded. More detailed data are available in the Eurostat database.