OECD: Int’l freight to quadruple by 2050

Freight will replace passenger traffic as main source of CO2 emissions from surface transport.


air freight freight forward International Transport Forum José Viegas shipping transportation


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in its ITF Transport Outlook that in the face of shifting global trade patterns, international freight transport volumes will grow more than fourfold (factor 4.3) by 2050. The ITF International Transport Forum is an inter-governmental organisation within the OECD. The ITF Transport Outlook examines the development of global transport volumes and related CO2 emissions and health impacts through to 2050.

The report said that average transport distance across all modes will increase 12 per cent. As a result, CO2 emissions from freight transport will grow by 290 per cent by 2050. Freight will replace passenger traffic as main source of CO2 emissions from surface transport.

The North Pacific route will surpass the North Atlantic as the world’s most busy trading corridor in terms of freight volume (in tonne-km), growing 100 percentage points faster than the North Atlantic. The Indian Ocean corridor will see large growth, with freight volume quadrupling.

Intra-African (+715 per cent) and intra-Asian (+403 per cent) freight volumes will see particularly strong growth to 2050. Road transport will dominate here due to lack of other modes.

The share of domestic transport of international freight flows, identified here for the first time, accounts for 10 per cent of trade-related international freight, but 30 per cent of CO2 emissions. This is important: Domestic transport is shaped by national policies, less by international agreements.