Road remains largely dominant for inland freight


© s_oleg /

In 2015, 2 287 billion tonne-kilometres of inland freight were transported in the European Union (EU). This was slightly more (+1.3%) compared with its level in 2010.

Road transport was still by far the dominant means of transporting freight (75.3% of total inland freight transport performance in 2015). This share has remained almost unchanged over last years. As a result, the modal split of inland freight transport has barely changed: road (from 75.7% in 2010 to 75.3% in 2015), rail (from 17.4% in 2010 to 18.3% in 2015) and inland waterways (from 6.9% in 2010 to 6.4% in 2015).


Road main means of transport for freight except in the three Baltic Member States

Between 2010 and 2015, the share of total inland freight that was transported by road increased in fifteen Member States, decreased in eight, and remained nearly stable in five.

In 2015, road transport accounted for less than half of the inland freight transport in Latvia (20.2%), Lithuania (34.1%), Romania (38.0%), Estonia (47.6%) and the Netherlands (48.3%). On the other hand, road transport represented over 90% in Cyprus and Malta (both 100%), Ireland (99.0%), Greece (98.4%) and Spain (94.1%).

In 2015, road transport was the main mode of transport for inland freight in all Member States, except in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, where the share of inland freight transported by rail was 79.8%, 65.9% and 52.4% respectively.

Rail accounted for less than 10% of freight transport in Ireland (1.0%), Greece (1.6%), Spain (5.9%), the Netherlands (6.1%) and Luxembourg (6.7%). Between 2010 and 2015, the share of rail in total inland freight transport increased in fourteen Member States and decreased in twelve.

The Netherlands (45.5% of the total inland freight transport), Romania (30.4%) and Bulgaria (27.4%) were the main users of inland waterways for freight transport in 2015.

Modal split of inland freight transport in the EU Member States, 2015


Over a quarter of total European international road freight transport on German roads

Due to the size of the country, its location in the centre of Europe and its large manufacturing base, Germany headed the European-wide international road freight transport in 2015. 27.2% of all the tonne-kilometres of European international road freight transport (corresponding to 150 billion tkm) were carried on German roads. France (101 bn tkm) was some way behind, with a share of 18.3%, followed by Poland (43 bn tkm or 7.7%) and Spain (39 bn tkm or 7.1%). Together, these four Member States accounted for more than 60% of the European international road freight transport performance in 2015.


You can read more about our statistics on modal split of freight transport in our dedicated online article.