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Global Freight: Recovery And Rebalancing

The latest update of global freight data collected by the International Transport Forum at the OECD shows that since the financial crisis of 2008:

  • EU-27 and USA external trade by sea are attaining pre-crisis peak levels, measured in tonnes; EU-27 trade by air in tonnes even surpassed them by 16%; 
  • Exports and imports display different post-crisis recovery patterns, with tonnes exported growing more strongly than tonnes imported. The rise of BRICs and of Asia as an export destination stands out, with an 18% to 60% growth in tonnes exported compared to the pre-crisis peak. 
  • Considering values instead of tonnes produces a somewhat more mitigated picture, possibly because of changes in value-pertonne of imports and exports as the recovery progresses; 
  • The pace of recovery appears to be slowing down, particularly in trade by air. Such a slowdown is to be expected given levels attained, but also highlights the continued presence of downside risks to the recovery; 
  • The low or zero growth in rail and road freight transport in Russia and EU contributes to the sense of weak recovery, suggesting in particular a tepid rebound in domestic demand.