INNOTRANS: Steady growth in the demand for railway products and services can be expected for the next six years, according to the 2018 World Rail Market Study compiled for UNIFE by Roland Berger and launched by UNIFE Chair Sabrina Soussan at InnoTrans on September 18.

The seventh biennial study once again draws on data provided by UNIFE member companies as well as independent research. It looks at trends in 60 of the world’s biggest rail markets, accounting for 95% of all passenger-km and freight tonne-km, including for the first time Bulgaria and Nigeria.

By comparing five different product categories in a seven geographical regions, the study considers 155 segments in total, in order to build up a comprehensive picture of the global market. Whilst the detailed statistics are primarily aimed at suppliers and consultants, this year’s study includes a special chapter giving a qualitative overview of global trends shaping the rail sector, such as urbanisation, digitisation and climate change, which UNIFE anticipates will be of value to politicians and financiers.

According to lead author Andreas Schwilling, the total market volume for rail products and services reached a record high of €163·2bn last year, following two years of positive market development. However, the compound annual growth rate of around 1·3% between 2013-15 and 2015-17 was slightly below the figure predicted in the previous survey.

Looking ahead, the study anticipates growth of around 2·5% to 3% over the next six years. It expects slower growth in the rolling stock segment over the next few coming years, following the placing of some very large orders in the previous two or three study periods. Countering this will be steady growth in the services sector and rail control systems, driven by the digitalisation trend as well as the deployment of ERTMS and PTC and increasing automation. Total market volume is predicted to reach approximately €192bn a year by 2023.