Global Rail Freight Transport Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023)

The global rail freight transport market is expected to witness high growth during the forecast period owing to the increase in global trade, which is triggering the demand for transportation activities. The global trade volume has increased by 4.3% in 2017 and the global GDP has witnessed a 3.8% rise.

The rapidly growing economies of the developed and developing countries, urbanization and rising disposable income, etc. are leading to an increase in the flow of goods. Developing infrastructure, adoption of advanced technologies, etc. are some of the key factors driving the growth of the rail freight transportation and services. However, the operation of the railways by government in some of the countries may lead to inefficiency and rise in costs. The factors, such as restrictions imposed on foreign entry and other barriers, are restraints to the growth of the market in some countries.

Growth in Rail Freight Logistics
The rail freight transport is cheap when compared to other modes of transportation and is more efficient as it allows larger volume of cargo to be transported to long distances. The transport of goods by train reduces the amount of fuel and emissions. The rail transportation is considered to be six to seven times more efficient than road transportation and reduces emissions by ~30-70%. Recently in July 2018, China has announced that it is planning to increase the rail freight by 30% by 2020, in order to fight against the growing smog. This presents a huge opportunity for the operators in rail freight transport and services market.

The road transportation is the dominant mode of transportation and accounts for more than 50% in most of the countries. However, increasing road congestion, costs, and emissions is shifting the focus toward the rail freight movement. This, in turn, leads to the demand in services such as storage and warehousing, consolidation, and customs clearance in case of cross border transport.

Geographical Analysis of Rail Freight Transport Market
North America dominates the world in rail freight movement with a large railway network of more than 200,000 miles. In 2017, the United States transported total goods of 2,448 billion metric ton – km, witnessing an increase of 5.3% from 2016.China is also one of the largest transporters of goods by railway. In 2017, the total rail freight turnover of China stood at 3.689 billion metric ton and witnessed an increase of 10.7% when compared to 2016.

Moreover, with China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, which includes transport corridors connecting east and west, the rail transport in Central and Eastern Europe is expected to grow further along with China and other Central Asian countries. In 2017, the EU rail freight transport witnessed a growth of 3.5%, whereas Russia experienced a surprising growth of 6.4% compared to 2016.

Transcontinental Rail Freight Movement
Various bilateral and multilateral trade agreements are resulting in transcontinental freight movement between countries. Rail freight transport is gaining significant importance in this regard. For instance, in July 2018, China Railway Express launched a freight service between Shijiazhuang and Moscow. Also, in January 2018, an intermodal rail freight service between Moscow, Russia and Hanoi, Vietnam was tested.

Rail Freight Transport Market

Investments in Advanced Technologies
The implementation of advanced technologies such as tracking systems, automatic handling systems, electronic data interchange, etc. helps in increasing efficiency. Therefore, investments in the adoption of cutting edge technologies by many operators are growing and is expected to further accelerate the growth of the market. Additionally, the demand for multimodal logistics with tracking technologies that allow for end-to-end shipment visibility is also increasing.

Rail Freight Transport Market Key Developments
Jun 2018: Kerry Logistics launched cross border rail and road freight services from China to Caucasus and Turkey. The rail freight service will operate through the newly built Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway line. The electronic and electric appliances, auto parts, and industrial goods are the main products to be moved through this service.
May 2018: United Parcel Service (UPS) launched a new Full Container Load (FCL) service between Hong Kong and Europe that leverages on the existing China to Europe service line. This two-way service increases the connectivity for businesses and is 30% faster than maritime transport and costs 60% lesser than Air transport.
Rail Freight Transport Market Major Players
Union Pacific Railroad
Canadian National Railway
CSX Transportation
Norfolk Southern Railway
BNSF Railway
Swiss Federal Railways
DB Cargo
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Canadian Pacific Railway
Global Rail Freight Transport Market Report Summary



Global Rail Freight Transport Market

Study Period

(2014 - 2023)

Market Size in 2017

Provided in the full Report

Market Size in 2023

Around USD 220 billion

Growth Rate

Provided in the full Report

Largest Market Share by Region

North America

Key Developments

Kerry Logistics launched cross border rail services from China to Caucasus and Turkey.
UPS launched a new Full Container Load (FCL) service between Hong Kong and Europe.
Companies Covered

Union Pacific Railroad, Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, BNSF Railway, Swiss Federal Railways, DB Cargo and others

Report Offerings

Latest trends in the rail freight transportation industry, growth prospects, industry competitiveness, major players, value/supply chain, regional market share and forecast to 2023.

Reasons to Purchase Rail Freight Transport Market Report
The current and future market outlook in the developed and emerging markets
Various perspectives of the market with the help of Porter’s five forces analysis
Detailed analysis of the segment that is expected to dominate the market
Regions that are expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period
The latest developments, market shares, and strategies employed by the major market players
3-month analyst support, along with the Market Estimate sheet (in Excel)
Rail Freight Transport Market Report Customization and Benefits
This report can be customized to meet the desired requirements. Please connect with our analyst, who will ensure that you get a report that suits your needs.