Statistics Explained

European Neighbourhood Policy - East - transport statistics

Data extracted in February 2021.

Planned article update: March 2023.


In 2020, Belarus had the highest motorisation rate among the European Neighbourhood Policy-East countries at 348 passenger cars per thousand inhabitants, followed by Georgia (320).

In 2020, COVID-19 restrictions led to a substantial fall in rail passenger kilometres travelled in the ENP-East countries, with the exception of Moldova.

In 2020, COVID-19 restrictions led to a substantial fall in the air passenger arrivals in ENP-East countries.


Motorisation rate, 2010, 2019 and 2020

This article is part of an online publication; it presents information on a range of transport statistics for the European Union (EU) and for the six countries that together form the European Neighbourhood Policy-East (ENP-East) region, namely, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Data shown for Georgia exclude the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia over which Georgia does not exercise control, and the data shown for Moldova exclude areas over which the government of the Republic of Moldova does not exercise control. Since 2014, data for Ukraine generally exclude the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol and the territories which are not under control of the Ukrainian government. The article presents transport indicators covering road, rail, air and maritime transport.

Full article

Road transport

Transport is fundamental to the economy and to society as a whole. There are considerable variations between the ENP-East countries as regards their level of economic development, their total (land) area and population numbers, as well as their geography. This is reflected in differences in the efficiency, safety and environmental impact of the transport sector, as well as the infrastructure and the stocks of transport equipment. Transport statistics need to evolve to respond to policy needs, informing development towards clean, safe and efficient transport.

Among the ENP-East countries, car ownership is usually less commonplace than in the EU, and passenger cars tend to account for a lower share of the total number of road vehicles. Subject to data availability, Table 1 shows that Ukraine had the highest total number of passenger cars, at 6.8 million in 2010 (no fresher data are available for Ukraine), while the next highest counts (for 2020) were recorded in Belarus (3.3 million), Azerbaijan (1.3 million), Georgia (1.2 million). Moldova had the lowest number of passenger cars with 0.7 million (no data available for Armenia).

In 2019 (no 2020 data), the share of passenger cars in the total number of road motor vehicles was estimated to be 85.5 % in the EU. This was slightly lower than the ratio recorded in 2020 for Azerbaijan (86.9 %), but slightly higher than the ratio in Georgia (84.7 %) and in Ukraine (83.8 % in 2010). The relative importance of passenger cars within the stock of road motor vehicles was less than 80 % in Belarus and Moldova (no data available for Armenia).

Among the ENP-East countries, Ukraine (508 thousand - 2010 data) had the highest number of lorries, followed by Belarus (410 thousand - 2020 data). The lowest number of lorries were reported by Azerbaijan (155 thousand) while it was 186 thousand in Moldova.

Table 1: Road equipment, 2010, 2019 and 2020
Source: Eurostat (enpe_road_eqs_car) and (tran_r_vehst)

The motorisation rate (see Figure 1) shows the number of passenger cars relative to the size of the population. Belarus had the highest motorisation rate among the ENP-East countries for which data are available, at 348 passenger cars per thousand inhabitants in 2020, followed by Georgia (320 per thousand inhabitants), Moldova (174 per thousand inhabitants) and Azerbaijan (125 per thousand inhabitants). These rates were considerably lower than the rate of 540 passenger cars per thousand inhabitants estimated for the EU in 2019.

Figure 1: Motorisation rate, 2010, 2019 and 2020
(number of passenger cars per thousand inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (enpe_road_eqs_car), (tran_r_vehst) and (demo_gind)

Figure 2 presents information on the number of persons killed in road accidents relative to the population. This provides a basis for comparing the frequency of road accidents between countries of different sizes.

Over the decade, there was a notable decrease in the relative number of road deaths in all ENP-East countries, except Armenia. Georgia continued recording the highest rate of persons killed in road accidents among these countries, despite the rate falling from 15.4 road deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2010 to 13.9 in 2017 (the most recent data available). In contrast, in Belarus, it fell from 12.6 in 2010, the third highest among the ENP-East countries, to 5.4 in 2019 and 6.1 in 2020, the lowest rate. Marked improvements in the rate of road deaths were registered also in Moldova (by -5.0; 2010-2019), Ukraine (-2.5; 2010-2017) and Azerbaijan (-3.4; 2010-2020).

In the EU there was a marked reduction in the total number of road deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants over the past decade, from 6.7 persons killed per 100 000 inhabitants in 2010 to 5.1 in 2019 (2020 data not yet available).

Figure 2: Persons killed in road accidents, 2010, 2019 and 2020
(number per 100 thousand inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (tran_sf_roadse) and (demo_gind) and Eurostat data collection

Rail transport

Rail services provide an alternative to road transport and are generally considered as more environmentally friendly. Table 2 presents indicators for analysing developments in the transport of passengers and freight by rail. Passenger-kilometres (pkm) and tonne-kilometres (tkm) are the main measurements used for analysing transport volumes of passengers and freight, respectively.

In 2020, rail passenger transport has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions put in place worldwide. All ENP-East countries but one showed a substantial fall in rail passenger transport performance between 2019 and 2020. The exception was Moldova where rail passenger transport performance stayed at 23 million pkm in 2019 and 2020. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine reported decreases of more than 60 % in 2020 compared to 2019, while Belarus decreased by 40 %. In the EU, rail passenger transport almost halved (-46 %) in 2020 compared to 2019, from 415 million pkm to 224 million pkm.

Rail passenger transport performance fell from 2010 to 2019 in all ENP-East countries, except in Armenia, where it increased by 39 %, albeit at a low level, from 50 million pkm in 2010 to 70 million pkm in 2019. Georgia (data refer to the transport on the national territory and abroad), remained relatively stable at 649 million pkm in 2019 while it was 654 million pkm in 2010. High falls in rail passenger transport over the period 2010-2019 were recorded in Moldova (-87 %), Azerbaijan (-44 %), Ukraine (-36 %) and Belarus (-17 %). In contrast, rail passenger transport in the EU substantially increased, by 20 %, in the period from 2007 (2008, 2009 and 2010 cannot be published due to confidentiality) to 2019.

The picture for rail freight transport is somehow different. In 2020, the rail freight transport was certainly impacted by restrictions albeit at a much lesser extent than rail passenger transport. Azerbaijan and Belarus recorded substantial falls between 2019 and 2020 (-24 % and -12 %, respectively). Armenia fell by 3 % over the same period while Georgia remained relatively stable (-0.3 %). In contrast, Ukraine showed an increase of 2 % while Moldova slightly increased (+1 %) over the same period. In the EU, rail freight transport decreased by 7 % between 2019 and 2020.

In Georgia, the transport of freight by rail more than halved from 2010 to 2019 (-53 %), while Ukraine registered a substantial fall of 23 % over the same period. All other ENP-East countries recorded a growth between 2010 and 2019, the highest being registered in Moldova (+33 %) and Armenia (+16 %). In Belarus, the increase was of 4 % in the same period while rail freight transport remained relatively stable in Azerbaijan (+1 %). In the EU, rail freight transport grew over the period 2010-2019, by 7 %.

Ukraine and Belarus, which recorded the biggest falls over the decade, were also the ENP-East countries with the highest quantity of rail freight transport — measured in tkm. In 2020, rail freight transport performance accounted for 63 billion tkm in Ukraine and 42 billion tkm in Georgia. The other ENP-East countries had much lower levels of rail freight transport. Moldova had the lowest figures with 166 million tkm in 2020. Azerbaijan reported 604 million tkm in 2020, Armenia 842 million tkm and Georgia 3 billion tkm. In comparison, the EU recorded 371 billion tkm of rail freight transport in 2019 (not including Belgium and including only detailed reporting by main undertakings for Greece).

Table 2: Rail transport, 2010, 2019 and 2020
Source: Eurostat (enpe_rail_go), (rail_pa_total), (rail_go_typepas) and (rail_go_total) and Eurostat data collection

Air transport

There has been considerable expansion in air services in recent decades, both in terms of passenger numbers and freight carried. Although there has been rapid growth, it is worthwhile noting that the weight of goods carried by air is relatively low, given the high cost of this mode of transport (for example, when compared with maritime freight) especially for bulky items. Table 3 presents two main indicators for air transport, namely the number of passenger arrivals and the quantity of air freight and mail arrivals.

To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have taken a variety of restrictive measures since the beginning of 2020. The air transport industry was severely hit, in particular the transport of passengers. All ENP-East countries (excluding Georgia, for which there is no data available) and the EU registered falls of 60 % or more between 2019 and 2020. In 2020, there were 209 million air passenger arrivals in the EU. The combined number of arrivals in the ENP-East countries (excluding Georgia) was 7 million, which was equivalent to 3.3 % of the EU total. The highest number of air passenger arrivals among the ENP-East countries was registered in Ukraine (4.4 million), followed by Belarus (1 million), Azerbaijan (0.6 million), Armenia and Moldova (each 0.5 million).

Table 3: Air transport, 2010, 2019 and 2020
Source: Eurostat (avia_paoc) and (avia_gooc) and Eurostat data collection

When looking at the period between 2010 and 2019, all of the ENP-East countries for which data are available (no data for Georgia) recorded much higher growths for air passenger arrivals, although from relatively low initial levels. The most rapid expansion was recorded for Belarus, where air passenger arrivals were 4 times as high as in 2019 as they had been in 2010, while in Moldova they were 3 times as high. In the other ENP-East countries, it more than doubled over the same period. The number of EU air passenger arrivals increased by 50 % between 2010 and 2019.

The air freight and mail transport was certainly also impacted by the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic albeit at a much lesser extent than air passenger transport. Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine recorded substantial falls between 2019 and 2020 in the volume of air freight and mail unloaded (-38 %, -25 % and -12 %, respectively). In contrast, Azerbaijan and Belarus registered a large growth over the same period (+32 % and +26 %, respectively).

The highest quantity of air freight and mail arrivals among the ENP-East countries was recorded in Azerbaijan, reaching 311 thousand tonnes in 2020 (no data for Georgia). This marked a considerable expansion when compared to ten years earlier (50 thousand tonnes in 2010). The other ENP-East countries (no data for Georgia) reported altogether 54 thousand tonnes in 2020. In contrast, 6.8 million tonnes of air freight and mail arrived in the EU in 2020, a decrease by 7 % compared to 2019.

Maritime transport

Armenia, Belarus and Moldova are all landlocked countries, without sea ports. Thus, no data collection on maritime transport are applicable for these countries.

The final table in this article, Table 4, presents some main indicators for maritime passenger and freight transport. As for rail and air transport, maritime transport, in particular passenger transport, has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions put in place worldwide. Data on maritime passenger transport are only available for two of the three ENP-East countries with access to the sea, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, but not for Georgia.

Azerbaijan has a relatively low level of maritime passenger activity, with 7 thousand passengers (excluding cruises) disembarked in Azerbaijani ports in 2020, an increase of three quarters compared to 2019 and of 59 % compared to 2010. Higher levels were observed for maritime freight, with Baku on the Caspian Sea playing an important role on Europe-Asia transit routes. Azerbaijan had the highest volumes of freight handled in its ports, among the ENP-East countries, in 2010 with 10.8 million tonnes. This fell to 8.2 million tonnes in 2019 and rose to 8.8 million tonnes in 2020.

Table 4: Maritime transport, 2010, 2019 and 2020
Source: Eurostat (enpe_mar_go), (mar_pa_aa) and (mar_mg_aa_cwhd)

Georgia had the highest volumes of freight handled in its ports, among the ENP-East countries, in 2020 with 9.2 million tonnes, despite a fall compared to 2019 when it was 10.4 million tonnes. In 2010, the levels were at 7.4 million tonnes.

During the last decade, there was a substantial reduction in both the number of maritime passengers carried and the quantity of maritime freight handled in Ukraine. These developments may be linked to the political tension between Ukraine and Russia, which may have impacted on the lower passenger numbers arriving in Black Sea ports, while trade sanctions/embargos between Ukraine and Russia from 2014 onwards may explain (some of) the subsequent reduction in maritime trade. Note also that the data for 2019 and 2020 exclude the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, and thus do not cover any maritime passenger or freight transport activity in this region in these reference years.

Data sources

The data for ENP-East countries are supplied by and under the responsibility of the national statistical authorities of each country on a voluntary basis. The data that are presented in this article result from an annual data collection cycle that has been established by Eurostat. These statistics are available free-of-charge on Eurostat’s website, together with a range of different indicators covering most socio-economic areas.

For the EU, transport statistics are available with an annual frequency and generally begin in the early 1990s. Eurostat’s statistics describe the most important features of transport, not only in terms of the quantities of freight and numbers of passengers that are moved each year, or the number of vehicles and infrastructure that are used, but also the contribution of transport services to the economy as a whole. Data collection is supported by several legal acts obliging the EU Member States to report statistical data (framework legislation and implementing legislation, organised according to the mode of transport under consideration), as well as voluntary agreements to supply additional data.

Passenger transport statistics

The majority of passenger transport statistics are based on vehicle movements in each of the reporting countries, regardless of the nationality of the vehicle or vessel involved (the ‘territoriality principle’). For this reason, the measure of passenger-kilometres (pkm, which represents one passenger travelling a distance of one kilometre) is generally considered as a more reliable measure, as a count of passengers entails a higher risk of double-counting, particularly for international transport.

Freight transport statistics

As with passenger transport statistics, freight transport statistics are generally based on movements in each reporting country, regardless of the nationality of the vehicle or vessel involved (the ‘territoriality principle’). For this reason, the measure of tonne-kilometres (tkm or tonne-km, in other words, one tonne of goods travelling a distance of one kilometre) is generally considered a more reliable measure when analysing freight transport statistics, as the simple use of tonnes entails a higher risk of double-counting, particularly for international transport.

Transport safety

Eurostat publishes transport safety data for road, rail, inland waterways, maritime and air transport. CARE is the European centralised database on road accidents which result in death or injury across the EU, developed on the basis of Council Decision 93/704/EC; it is managed by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport. A road death is defined as the number of deaths that are caused by road accidents and which occur within 30 days from the date of the accident; the count includes drivers and passengers in motorised vehicles and on bicycles who might be involved in road accidents, as well as pedestrians.

Tables in this article use the following notation:

Value in italics     data value is forecasted, provisional or estimated and is therefore likely to change;
: not available, confidential or unreliable value;
not applicable.


An efficient and well-functioning passenger and freight transport system is vital for enterprises and inhabitants. The ability to move goods safely, quickly and cost-efficiently to markets is important for international trade, national distributive trades, and economic development. The rapid increase in international trade up to the onset of the global financial and economic crisis and the deepening integration of the EU’s single market, alongside a range of economic practices (including the concentration of production in fewer sites to reap economies of scale, delocalisation, and just-in-time deliveries), may explain — at least to some degree — developments in the volume of freight being transported.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport is responsible for developing transport policy within the EU. It aims to develop policy to foster clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe, underpinning the internal market for goods (transferring them between their place of production and consumption) and the right of citizens to travel freely throughout the EU (for both work and pleasure).

On 2 July 2021, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy presented the Eastern Partnership: a Renewed Agenda for cooperation with the EU’s Eastern partners. This agenda is based on the five long-term objectives, with resilience at its core, as defined for the future of the Eastern Partnership in the Joint Communication Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020: Reinforcing Resilience – an Eastern Partnership that delivers for all in March 2020. It is further elaborated in the Joint Staff Working Document Recovery, resilience and reform: post 2020 Eastern Partnership priorities. It will be underpinned by an Economic and Investment plan. The Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit ‘Recovery, Resilience and Reform’ of 15 December 2021 reaffirms strong commitment to a strategic, ambitious and forward-looking Eastern Partnership.

In cooperation with its ENP partners, Eurostat has the responsibility ‘to promote and implement the use of European and internationally recognised standards and methodology for the production of statistics, necessary for developing and monitoring policy achievements in all policy areas’. Eurostat undertakes the task of coordinating EU efforts to increase the statistical capacity of the ENP countries. Additional information on the policy context of the ENP is provided here.

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