This chapter establishes the recent trends in international trade volumes. It then aims to identify the main ways in which this trade growth has affected road and rail freight transport activity at the international level, and finally considers the likely future direction of international land-based transport movement. Road and rail are currently carrying relatively small quantities of products traded internationally compared with maritime shipping. However, likely increases in the total quantity of international trade (as a result of manufacture continuing to grow in distant locations, facilitated by more reliable, and faster transport services, supported by improvements in technology) will increase the amount of goods that need to be transported internationally.
The chapter looks at recent trends in international trade activity. It discusses international trade and transport from a policy and economic perspective, before
describing the importance of customs clearance and border crossings together with the increased concerns about security in international transport. The chapter provides
a more detailed discussion of road and then rail within which aspects such as infrastructure issues, policy and regulation, operations and technology are reviewed.
The chapter closes with a look at future perspectives. New developments to remove bottlenecks, combined with operational improvements, provide scope for considerable
increases in the efficiency of international road and rail freight in many regions.