During 2017, the world economy was marked by a phase of moderate but widespread expansion both in industrialized countries and in emerging markets. According to the latest estimates, the gross domestic product of the planet has increased by 3.5%, while the average annual growth of world trade has reached almost 5%.
In Italy the economy's pace has definitely accelerated, benefiting from an expansive attitude of economic policies and a favourable international environment with positive impacts on domestic demand and exports.
In 2017, the Italian transport sector confirmed signs of consolidation in almost all its segments.
As for the transport of goods, in the airline sector there was a robust growth of 9.6% compared to 2016, confirming the trend recorded in the last two years. Led by the increase in freight traffic and the good performance of the economy, the logistics sector grew by 1.8% compared to the previous year.
In the maritime sector, the traffic of containers saw a general increase of 5.4%, while passengers in Italian ports amounted to around 10,2 million.
In passenger transport, the growth of the airline sector continues with about 175 million passengers, an increase of 6.4% compared to 2016. The growth was more significant in its international component and, in particular, in EU traffic that recorded an increase of 8.5% compared to 2016.
Positive trends also for motorway traffic relating to heavy vehicles, which recorded an increase of 3.9% (January-October 2017) with around 16 billion vehicles/km. The light vehicular component also grew, achieving around 55 billion km, an increase of 1.9% (January-October 2017).
In road transport, following the liberalization of the bus transport sector, the medium and long-distance bus market has grown rapidly with an increase in connections between Italian cities and between Italian and European cities. In the Italian market, the offerings initially turned to connections between the south and north of the country and in areas less served by rail networks and subsequently extended to cover transversal routes (east-west of the peninsula), on the Adriatic coast, and from the north to the centre.
In the 2017 financial year, the infrastructure administered by the FS Italiane Group of companies in Italy and abroad amounted to approximately 17,560 km. Of these, 16,787 km are related to the national railway infrastructure, managed by the subsidiary Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, which is organized according to the following scheme:
Of those lines, those with single tracks amount to 9,091 km, while those with double tracks 7,696 km. With reference to power supply to the network, electrified lines exceed 12,000 km (of which 7,619 km concern double tracks) and those with diesel traction amount to 4,765 km. The total kilometres of track amounts to about 24,000 km of which 1,467 km are related to high speed.
All lines in the network are equipped with one or more train protection systems, making the railway infrastructure one of the safest in Europe. In particular, the lines of the new High Speed/High Capacity network are equipped with ERTMS/ETCS(European Rail Traffic Management System / European Train Control System).
There are 39 railway companies that are authorized to carry out transport activities on the RFI network as they have the relative licenses issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Of these, 32 are equipped with a safety certificate issued by the National Agency for Rail Safety (ANSF).
The evolution achieved by the FS Italiane Group, from a national transport company to a European mobility company, also recorded positive results in 2017 thanks to the demand satisfied by the Group itself.
Long-distance rail transport activities in 2017 showed an overall growth of 3.2% of satisfied demand. This result was achieved by Trenitalia and Greek railway company TrainOSE, acquired by the Group in the second half of the year. Overall production increased by around 6.9%, with around 90 million trains per km, of which 70% completed for market services.
The increase in demand from the market services sector (+ 3.9%) was driven significantly by Trenitalia, in particular by the Frecciarossa brand.
As for universal long-distance service, the slight increase in traffic on an annual basis (+ 0.8%) derived from the activities of TrainOSE, which offset the contraction suffered by national services carried out by Trenitalia (-4,8% in terms of travellers/km).
The demand satisfied by the Group's regional railway transport increased by 3.0% in 2017 compared to the previous year in terms of overall traffic volumes, considering Italy and abroad. Travellers’ satisfaction with regard to comfort, cleanliness, punctuality, information on board trains, and safety also increased. Finally, production also increased, with a volume of about 218 million train kilometres on an annual basis.
In local non-rail public transport, international activity, already guaranteed in 2016 by the Netinera group in Germany, was enriched during with the acquisition of Qbuzz controlled by Busitalia-Sita Nord Srl. Besides managing local public transport services, Busitalia-Sita Nord Srl also entered the field of long-distance road travel with the Busitalia Fast service, which provides daily connections in 15 Italian regions and over 90 cities in Italy and Germany.
Starting in 2017, Ferrovie Sud Est and Servizi Automobilistici offers road transport services with connections in over 130 municipalities in Puglia. The overall coverage of the Group, both nationally and internationally, amounted to about 175 million bus km.
With regard to the goods sector, the FS Italiane Group has implemented and is implementing, thanks to the Mercitalia Polo, a new business model which envisages the development of integrated solutions for freight and logistics transport at the best market conditions. Within the Polo, the rail component showed positive results in its first year, thanks to the integration with the other Group companies. The traffic volumes achieved, measured in tons km, showed an increase of 2.5%. The increase in traffic carried out abroad, in particular that of subsidiary TX Logistik AG, contributed to this increase.
Overall, the supply of goods transport by rail decreased slightly (-1.4%) compared to 2016, but achieved good results in terms of rationalizing the entire sector thanks to the improvement of the quality of the services offered and the increase in productivity.
Source: 2017 Financial Report