The uncertain performance of the country's economy also influenced the transport system in 2018, both in the goods and passenger sectors.
Freight movements data, in its various modes, was affected by the weakness of national industrial production (+ 1.2%) and world trade. The airline sector in the first eleven months of the year has in fact recorded a decrease of 0.5%, interrupting the growth of the last five years.
Maritime transport also did not continue with the same growth rate as the previous year, affected by the economic slowdown.
Road freight transport is the least affected by the economic situation, maintaining a positive trend with an increase of 2.5%, corresponding to 14.7 billion heavy vehicle vehicles in the period from January to September 2018.
In the field of passenger transport, 2018 showed an expansion of air travel and a more uncertain trend for the others. In fact, travellers that passed through the 38 Italian airports monitored by Assaeroporti were around 173 million from January to November, corresponding to an increase of 5.7% on an annual basis.
In its new configuration, the FS Italiane Group manages around 44,000 km of infrastructure network, this includes both the railway and the road network. In 2018, the national railway infrastructure managed by the companies of the FS Italiane Group, in Italy and abroad, amounted to approximately 17,555 km. Of these, 16,781 km are related to the national railway infrastructure, managed by the subsidiary Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, which is structured as follows:
Considering the type, the double-rail lines are distributed for 7,721 km, equal to 46% of the total, while for the supply the line is electrified for 12,018 km (71.6% of the total). The overall length of the rails amounts to 24,502 km, of which 1,467 km of High Speed/High Capacity network rails.
All the lines of the network are equipped with one or more train travel protection systems, which make the railway infrastructure of RFI among the safest in Europe. In particular, the lines of the new High Speed/High Capacity network are equipped with the ERTMS/ETCS system (European Rail Traffic Management System / European Train Control System).
In addition to the railway infrastructure, the FS Italiane Group manages, through the subsidiary Anas, approximately 29,000 km of state roads and 1,300 km of motorways, including around 1,300 galleries and 11,000 viaducts. As regards 2018, the overall number of transits, recorded along the main Anas road network via the centralized PANAMA monitoring system (Anas Platform for Monitoring and Analysis), suffered an overall decrease of 1.2% in the Index Average annual mobility (IRM) compared to the previous year while that of heavy vehicles has suffered a more moderate decline (-0.2% compared to 2017).
Within the transport sector, the FS Italiane Group is one of the largest industrial groups in the country and in Europe. Despite the downturn in economic growth rates, the Group recorded a growth in overall passenger transportation performance thanks to the contribution of Trenitalia, nationally, and of the subsidiaries operating in the United Kingdom, Greece, France and Germany.
Long Haul transport recorded growth of +3.9%, due both to the universal service contributed (+5.9%), where growth abroad was particularly significant, and to market services (+3.4%). Within the latter, the Frecce service by Trenitalia distinguished itself with an expansion of the offer in the extreme hours of the day, morning and evening, and an increase in the number of cities served.
Regional rail transport also closed the year 2018 up with an increase in traffic volumes of 1.3%, in travellers/km and a 1.2% increase in trains/km.
In the non-rail local public transport sector, the commitment of the FS Italiane Group continues in the process of integrating the traditional rail transport business with those of road transport, in Italy and abroad. Through the subsidiary Busitalia-Sita Nord and its subsidiaries, present in the various national basins of Veneto, Tuscany, Umbria and Campania, and abroad with Qbuzz BV, Fs Italiane Group carries out, in addition to the urban and extra-urban local public transport, substitute train services, long-distance services in the market and in lake navigation.
In addition to the Busitalia Group, the local public transport service operated by the FS Italiane Group also includes the services offered by the South East Railways and Automotive Services, in the Puglia region, and those of the Netinera group in Germany. The overall offer of the Group, both national and international, was 193 million km buses.
The development and enhancement of rail freight transport is one of the priorities of the FS Italiane Group. The creation of the Mercitalia Hub, for freight and logistics, made it possible to optimise services by offering a single interface to the customer and occupy a more significant position on the market. Furthermore, in November 2018, the innovative Mercitalia Fast service was activated, which allows goods to travel on the High-Speed network by connecting the Mercitalia Terminal in Maddaloni-Marcianise (Caserta), one of the main logistics platforms, in 3 hours and 30 minutes, of the South of the Country, with the Freight Terminal of Bologna, one of the most important logistic hubs of Northern Italy.
However, traffic data, influenced by the uncertainties and difficulties of the industrial and country sectors, showed a significant decrease in both the national and foreign component. In detail, it should be noted that these data were, in part, conditioned both by completely occasional factors - such as the prolonged and incidental closure of important routes and the strikes that blocked the railway activity in several major European countries and consequently conditioned the international transport - and by exogenous factors, such as the unfavourable economic situation. However, the average load of just over 500 tons per train remains unchanged.
Source: 2018 Annual Report