Modal split in freight transport

This indicator provides information on the modal split in freight transport between trucks, trains and ships. It is expressed in billions of tonne-kilometres.

55.4 billion tonne-kms

  • In 2017, freight transport accounted for 55.4 billion tonne-kilometres, which was around 2% less than in 2016.
  • 80% of all freight transport was carried out by trucks.

What do we see? 

In the period between 2010 and 2017, the total number of tonne-kilometres – the freight equivalent of passenger kilometres – ranged from 49 to 55.4 billion. During the reporting period, we also see a steady overall increase. With an 80% share, trucks are by far the most common means of freight transport. Trains and ships take up much smaller proportions, carrying out 7% and 12% of freight transport, respectively. These means of transport have also remained fairly constant throughout the reporting period with an overall increase of only 1% and 3%, respectively.



What’s the aim?

In a circular economy, the goal is to minimise the number of vehicles in order to reduce material consumption. However, since freight transport is related to economic development, we must also ensure that this smaller number of vehicles can keep up with transport demands. This can be achieved by intensifying the use of the vehicles and by improving their efficiency. In other words, in order to cover greater transport needs with fewer vehicles, the same vehicles must be used more. Furthermore, in a circular economy it is preferable to shift transport towards trains and ships, provided that the extra logistics required do not undo the circular benefits of these modes of transport.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator provides information on the modal split in freight transport between trucks, trains and ships, expressed in billions of tonne-kilometres. The data for the calculations was taken from the Flanders Environmental Report (MIRA). Road transport values were obtained by combining data from Promovia with survey data collected by Statistics Belgium. These numbers include data on all trucks (including foreign ones) with a loading capacity of over 1 tonne driving on Flemish roads, irrespective of their departure location and destination. The data on freight transport by train was obtained from Statistics Flanders and that of freight by ship from in-house calculations at the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM).

Discover more topics

Modal split in passenger transport
85.2 billion kms/year

Modal split in passenger transport

This indicator shows the total amount of passenger kilometres travelled by any means of transport. It allows us to...
Number of passenger cars
3,562,489 cars

Number of passenger cars

This indicator measures the size of the vehicle fleet in Flanders.
Car use intensity
14,483 km/year

Car use intensity

Car use intensity measures the intensity of use of passenger cars and is defined as the ratio between the...
Car use efficiency
1.29 passengers/car

Car use efficiency

This indicator is defined as the ratio between the number of kilometres a car travels and the number of...
Car sharing
173,759 users

Car sharing

This indicator shows the number of car-sharing memberships in Flanders.
Number of buses
8,969 buses

Number of buses

This indicator aims to offer an understanding of the total number of buses in Flanders. A circular economy aims...
Bus use intensity
45,000 km/year

Bus use intensity

This indicator describes the use intensity of buses. In other words, how much buses are used. By maximising the...
Number of freight vehicles
552,404 vehicles

Number of freight vehicles

This indicator gives information about the number and type of freight transport vehicles. This category of vehicles includes (mainly)...
Truck use intensity
105,010 billion kms

Truck use intensity

This indicator measures the use intensity of road freight transport vehicles (trucks). Their use intensity can be measured in...