Why does road transport play such an important role in freight transport?
Many modern logistics concepts in industry and commerce make use of the advantages of road as a mode of transport. Especially at high delivery frequencies (e.g. just-in-time) road scores with its characteristics.
Due to increasing globalization, international exchange of goods is also increasing. Particularly the railways are still strongly organised on a national level today. Interoperability, i.e. the suitability of the trans-European rail system for the safe and uninterrupted movement of trains, does not yet exist. Therefore, both road and air transport have great advantages in international transport activities, as there are hardly any obstacles apart from border and customs controls.
With the emergence of the Internet, e-commerce also increased. Customers no longer pick up their goods themselves so frequently from over the counter retail, they are now delivered directly. Auction and exchange platforms (e.g. Ebay, Willhaben, etc.) also emerged in the consumer-to-consumer sector, so that the number of items to be distributed across the board increased in this sector as well. Rail and inland water transport hardly have any market shares in this.
It should also be noted that rail and water transport account for a large proportion of those groups of goods which are becoming increasingly insignificant as the economy develops, such as ore, coal, iron and steel products. In the case of growing groups of goods, such as vehicles, machinery, semi-finished and finished goods, the importance of rail and water transport is smaller. However, increasing containerisation of goods favours rail and (inland) water transport.