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View from the bank

01 Jan 2001

ON DECEMBER 5 Deutsche VerkehrsBank published a study1 suggesting that investment in transport will total US$300bn a year for the next decade. 'The Global Transport Market - a Tremendous Investment Opportunity' estimates that US$45bn is being spent every year on 'rail infrastructure improvements', and that by 2004 annual spending on rolling stock will top US$30bn.

These figures are based partly on the World Bank's Railway Database and partly on DVB's own research. While they offer some guidance on likely spend, it would have been helpful to include more detailed explanations of what is covered. The report comments on growth potential and notes that 'the US and China are rapidly recognising high speed rail as a vital aspect of their respective economies'. It also says that 'plans in the UK include a US$3bn railway from Liverpool to the Channel Tunnel, which will be dedicated to freight in order to alleviate motorway congestion'.

What is really surprising is the omission in the road transport section of any attempt to calculate the annual spend on private cars and public road infrastructure, which together must surely account for the largest share of the squillions of dollars spent every year on road transport. The report limits its calculation to commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, with a spend of US$109bn a year, plus US$4bn a year on privately funded road infrastructure.

1. Industrial Research: the Global Transport Market - a Tremendous Investment Opportunity is available from Deutsche VerkehrsBank AG, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Fax +49 69 97504 333 or