Road freight transport (i44)

In 2021, the modal share of the road in freight transport, measured in tonne-kilometres, was 78.6% in Belgium. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to 63.7%. The Federal Planning Bureauʹs projections (available in November 2023) indicate that this objective will not be reached. The share of the road in freight transport is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Road freight transport - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of transport in tonne-kilometres

projection (November 2023)--------------77.3
objective 203063.763.763.763.763.763.763.763.7

European Commission (2023), European transport in figures 2023, (consulted on 03/10/2023); calculations FPB based on FPB and Mobility and Transport FPS (2023), Perspectives de l'évolution de la demande de transport en Belgique à l'horizon 2040.

Road freight transport - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of transport in tonne-kilometres

//: Average Growth Rates

European Commission (2023), European transport in figures 2023, (consulted on 03/10/2023).

Definition: the modal share of road in freight transport is the share of total traffic carried by lorries and vans. The other modes of transport considered are railways and waterways. Traffic is measured in tonne-kilometres, obtained by multiplying, for each trip, the number of tonnes on board by the number of kilometres performed. The data come from the European Commission, DG MOVE. For the road traffic in Belgium, for which DG Transport provides data only from 2005 onwards, the indicator has been retropolated to 1990, using the data of the FPB. These are calculated using data collected from different sources (Publications of the FPS Mobility and Transport, FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy, Statistics Belgium, annual reports of SNCB/NMBS, the Belgian national rail company).

Goal: the modal share of road in freight transport must be 63.7% by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 9.1: “Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all”.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development includes objective 23: "For freight transport, rail and inland waterway transport will be the most used.” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013), which can be interpreted as a decrease in the modal share of road transport below 50%. As the modal share of road transport is 74.0% in 2015, linear interpolation between 2015 and 2050 gives a target of 63.7% for 2030.

International comparison: in the EU27, this indicator has been relatively stable at around 75% since 2005, but shows an increase since 2018 to reach 77.3% in 2021. Data for this indicator are not available until 2005 at EU27 level. However, a comparable indicator (data not adjusted for territoriality) shows a steady increase in the share of road transport, from 71% in 1995 to 76% in 2005. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performances and lays behind the European average in 2021. In that year, Lithuania ranked first with 37.55% and Cyprus last with 100%.

UN indicator: the selected indicator corresponds to indicator 9.1.2 Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport.


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