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).