Reference market trends
The world economy, which is exposed to a number of economic and political risks, showed moderate growth in 2016 in both advanced (+1.6%) and emerging economies (+3.6%).
The positive performance of GDP after two years of recovery (+0.2% in 2014 and +0.6% in 2015) confirms that the Italian economy is gradually stabilising. Growth in the first months of the year accelerated moderately (+0.4%), stagnating in the second quarter (+0.1%) and then gaining momentum in the summer months (+0.3%) thanks to the positive contribution of consumption and investment. In the fourth quarter, economic activities grew by 0.2%. Inflation fell by 0.1% on average over the year, reflecting the effects of the prolonged fall in commodity prices, particularly energy prices.
The transport market
Confirming the economic recovery, the transport sector built on its strong performance the previous year, both in both passenger and freight mobility.
The freight transport sector saw particularly strong growth in air travel, with a 7.1% rise in the number of tonnes transported in comparison to 2015, confirming the trend recorded in recent years. Milan Malpensa airport was once again the leading hub for goods handling with 537 thousand tonnes (+7.4%).
Motorway traffic also rose in the heavy vehicle component, which recorded an increase of 4% (January-September 2016) with about 14 billion vehicle-km. Container shipping in the main Italian seaports remained stable, with approximately 20 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).
The logistics sector also grew, with a forecast turnover of around 81 billion Euros, an increase of 1.8% compared to 2015.
Passenger transport saw marked increases in the air travel industry, with approximately 164 million passengers transported, corresponding to a rise of +4.7% on the previous year. Growth was more significant in the international component (+6.2%), in particular EU traffic, which grew by 7.6% compared to 2015. National traffic also saw a positive trend, with an increase of 2.2% compared to 2015. The capital airport system (Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino) rose to first place with over 47 million passengers transported; followed by Milan (Milan Linate and Malpensa) with about 29 million.
Motorway traffic also rose in the lightweight vehicle component, up to approximately 49 billion vehicle-km, an increase of 3.5% (January-September 2016). This growth was partly reflected in the car market with a 15.8% increase in vehicle registrations.
In maritime transport, 11.4 million passengers passed through Italian ports in 2016, according to the latest estimates, an increase of 2.7% compared to 2015. The port of Civitavecchia, according to estimates, was confirmed as the leading port with about 3.2 million passengers, followed by the ports of Venice and Naples with 1.6 and 1.3 million passengers respectively.
The national railway infrastructure
At 31 December 2016, the network managed by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) covered 16,788 km, with over 24,400 km of tracks, distributed throughout the national territory and divided into the following types of line:
- basic lines, characterised by high traffic density, covering 6,367 km;
- complementary lines, which constitute a dense network of connections within regional areas and interconnections with the main routes, for a total length of 9,466 km;
- nodal lines, located within large metropolitan areas for a total extension of 955 km.
71.6% of the network, amounting to 12,023 km, is electric, while double tracks account for 45.6% of the total, corresponding to 7,647 km.
All network lines are equipped with one or more train protection systems, making our railway infrastructure one of the safest in Europe. In particular, the lines for the new High Speed/High Capacity network are equipped with the ERTMS/ETCS (European Rail Traffic Management System) European standard signalling system.
There are 32 railway companies legally allowed to carry out transport activities on the RFI network since they have the relevant license issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Ministerial Decree 36/2011 and Legislative Decree 112/2015). They all also hold a safety certificate issued by the National Railways Security Agency (ANSF) as regulated by Legislative Decree 162/2007, implementing Directives 2004/49/EC and 2004/51/EC on safety and the development of railways within the European Union.
In 2016, the RFI network recorded approximately 350 million train-km, including the category "Other service lines" amounting to approximately 16 million train-km, up by 2.7% on the previous year. The amount of traffic by non-Ferrovie dello Stato Group companies increased by approximately 6% compared to 2015.
FS Italiane Group passenger and freight traffic
Thanks to the concentration of its production capacity, in 2016 the FS Italiane Group worked to satisfy its customers by combining the demands of mobility with increasingly efficient and quality services. In particular, our efforts led to the integration of transport systems (train and bus) to support, on the one hand, local public transport and on the other, a strong integration of long-distance services. The new integrated "Freccialink bus + Frecce" service by Trenitalia is an important part of this, connecting the high-speed network with important cities such as Siena, Perugia, L'Aquila, Potenza and Matera, and has been chosen by around 24,000 travellers since it was launched.
Overall, the FS Italiane Group, including its international activities, saw an increase in traveller demand of about 1.2%, while production, expressed in train and bus-km, rose by 2.6%.
Regional transport traffic
The long-haul transport market
Subsidised long-haul universal service
In the railway sector, regional transport grew significantly with a traffic volume of 24 billion traveller-km, of which around 20% by the Group companies abroad, confirming the positive outcome of the actions taken for this service: improvement of punctuality, increased frequency of services and integration of services at the stations.
More attention was focused on the Regional Service Contracts in order to outline clear objectives on increasing the quality of service and performance, backed by heavy investment in rolling stock and technology. Traveller satisfaction rose by about 4% for the overall travel experience (80%), including train cleaning (66%), punctuality (70%), comfort (79%), on-board information (77%) and security (76%). Production also rose by 2.3% to 207 million train-km.
Strong performance by local public transport complete the positive results achieved by the FS Italiane Group in total bus passenger transport (national and foreign): in 2016, demand increased by 2.3%. met by an increase in the offer of 1.1% in terms of bus-km. If valued at national level, these values, which belong to the Group led by the subsidiary Busitalia Sita Nord, are even more encouraging.
However, the volume of long-distance rail traffic fell (-2.7%), slowed by the sharp fall in the subsidised universal service component (-6.9%) which is defined by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport commission. Despite the slight decline in market services (-1.5%) compared to the previous year - especially due to the results achieved at EXPO 2015 - the Trenitalia High Speed Service, Frecciarossa, continues its success, up by 14% on the offer level. Overall production (market services plus universal service) rose, with approximately 85 million train-km (+5%).
FS Group freight transport was affected by the weak economic situation, achieving a national and international traffic volume of 22.5 billion tons-km, down 3.8% from the prior year. The fall was lower for the national component alone, thanks to the positive contribution of conventional traffic (+2%), while for the international part the significant decrease (-5.4%) relates in particular to the termination of a foreign-controlled subsidiary during 2016.
Overall production was also down (-5.5%), reaching a level of approximately 44 million train-km, mainly due to the fall in international routes (-8.2%). The average annual load was of just over 500 tons per train.