During 2019, in the face of the weak economic context, the transport segment developed unevenly in the passenger and freight sectors. In particular, freight traffic was most impacted by the economic slowdown due to the international trade tensions and the slowdown of the Chinese economy.
In the freight sector, the air segment shows the most evident contraction with a 4.5% decrease in volumes compared with the previous year. Sea transport at the main Italian ports was also affected by the economic slowdown, and particularly by the significant decrease in trade. Road traffic was more dynamic, with an increase of 2.2% in heavy vehicles on motorways. Logistics was also up slightly in terms of turnover, confirming that it is a dynamic sector thanks to the new 4.0 technologies and to the automation of transport and warehouse activities.
On the other hand, passenger transport grew. Monitored by Assaeroporti, Italian terminals saw approximately 180 million air passengers pass by in the first 11 months of the year (+4.0% on 2018). The trend in the cruise sector was also positive and, according to the most recent estimates in the Italian Cruise report, it will end the year with a total of 4,834 ships and 12.1 million passengers (+3.2% and +8.8% on the previous year, respectively). The Italian port system confirmed its first place in the Mediterranean in terms of the number of passengers, with approximately 40% of total traffic. Light vehicle car traffic in the motorway network subject to tolls remains stable.
The FS Italiane Group manages approximately 46,000 km of infrastructure, railway and road networks evenly distributed throughout Italy, connecting the country by improving quality and safety standards.
In 2019, roughly 9,000 trains operated by both the country’s incumbent operator and third party railway companies, travelled across the Italian railway network, totalling 370 million train-km in the year. Similarly, Anas' road network was used by approximately 7 million passenger vehicles (light) and 500,000 freight vehicles (heavy) per day, covering around 77 billion km per year.
At 31 December 2019, the domestic railway infrastructure operated by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, amounts to 16,779 km. The network is comprised as follows:
Of these lines, double tracks account for 7,722 km (46% of the total), while 12,016 km (71.6%) is electrified. The total track length is 24,500 km, including 1,467 km of HS/HC network lines.
All network lines are equipped with one or more train speed protection systems, which makes Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s railway infrastructure one of the safest in Europe. In particular, the lines on the new HS/HC network feature the ERTMS/ETCS, the standard European signalling system.
In addition to the railway infrastructure, the FS Italiane Group manages approximately 29,000 km of main roads and 1,300 km of motorways through its subsidiary Anas. In 2019, the index of road traffic on the main Anas network remained substantially the same as in the previous year, as observed by the centralised monitoring system, PANAMA (Anas’ monitoring and analysis platform), while heavy vehicle traffic decreased slightly, by 1.7%.
In the transport sector, during the year, the FS Italiane group once again confirmed its growth in business segments with quantitative and qualitative services that increasingly meet passengers’ needs, strengthening its role as a mobility leader. With the cooperation and commitment of its subsidiaries, in Italy and abroad, demand for the FS Italiane group’s transport services expanded, despite the weak economic cycle and the decrease in trade.
Overall passenger and freight railway transport figures confirm the improvement in collective demand (+0.2% passenger-km on the previous year) and the increase in freight traffic volumes (+0.2% tonne-km on the previous year).
Specifically, long-haul transport posted a 1.3% contraction in passenger volumes, due to a decrease in demand for the market service (-2.9%). On the contrary, universal services, which are provided as defined by the customer (public entities), showed a 5.4% increase in volumes. The supply of market services, which include Trenitalia’s Frecce trains, accounts for more than 90% of the total and increased by approximately 2.4%.
Regional railway transport also showed an overall increase in traffic volumes, demonstrating the Group’s greater attention to the commuter service, as set out in the guidelines of the Business plan. The demand of roughly 25 billion passenger-km was met in Italy and abroad, up by 1.6% on the previous year, while production increased by 1.4%.
The FS Italian Group’s efforts in urban local public transport to create an integrated model more closely aligned to customers’ actual, differing needs, met the demand for approximately 2.9 billion passenger-km (+2%), offering around 207 million 2019 directors’ report 90 bus-km. The scope of road LPT is mainly centred in the subsidiary Busitalia-Sita Nord, which manages, directly and indirectly, urban and extra-urban transport in various Italian regions (Veneto, Campania, Tuscany and Umbria), representing the third operator in Italy, and LPT in the Netherlands through Qbuzz BV. During the year, Busitalia-Sita Nord left the long-haul market, focusing its resources on modal integration. Its general offer is also supplemented by the road services of Ferrovie del Sud Est in Puglia, the Netinera group companies in Germany and road connections on certain lines managed by TrainOSE in Greece.
Freight transport volumes of the FS Italiane Group companies, in Italy and abroad, were over 22 billion tonne-km (+0.2%) overall, while production in train-km decreased by 0.9%. International traffic recorded a significant increase (+3.1%), but domestic traffic suffered a slight decrease, confirming Italy’s difficult economic context, with industrial production losing an average of 1.3% over the previous year.
In addition to railway transport and LPT, to ensure the continuity of railway services throughout the entire country, the FS Italiane group also operates sea connections between the mainland and Sicily, which are currently operated using Rete Ferroviaria Italiana ships for long-haul trains and by Bluferries’ bidirectional ships for the transport of passengers, vehicles and goods. In May 2019, the subsidiary Blu Jet started its activities with new speed boats to offer more crossings of the Messina strait.
Source: 2019 Annual Report