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UIC figures show growth in global rail traffic

28 Jul 2011

INTERNATIONAL: Statistics from UIC members indicate an average overall growth of 3·4% in freight tonne-km in 2010, confirming economic and trade recovery, as well as a 3·5% increase in passenger-km due in part to rail development in Asia, particularly India.

Publishing the figures on July 27, UIC said there was an 8% increase in Russia's 'extremely dynamic' freight sector, which accounts for almost a quarter of world tonne-km. The USA and Canada reported 4% growth and represent more than 25% of total tonnage transported. There was only 3% growth in China, which is responsible for 70% of the total tonnage in Asia & Oceania, but Indian Railways traffic was up 9% and Kazakh Railways 8%. Europe excluding the CIS showed a 7% increase, and UIC said this trend has continued into 2011. Growth in Africa was 1·5%.

Passenger-km worldwide remain steady thanks to growth in Asia, particularly India which saw an 8% increase and carried almost half the traffic in Asia, while China only recorded 0·4% growth. Passenger-km in Russia fell 9%, but was stable in Europe and grew by 0·2% in Africa.

UIC has around 200 members, operating 1 million km of railway which carries 2·7 billion passenger-km and 9 billion tonne-km of freight a year.