Global Rail Freight Market 2019-2025

October 1, 2019
Request Sample


Multi User License - $2,500

Availability: In Stock


Rail freight has a major role in global freight transport system. In Europe, Its environmental friendliness provides additional value by helping Europe in reducing carbon emission targets. Each freight train removes ~50 -70 trucks from the roads, reducing carbon emissions, traffic congestion and improving safety.

An infographic detailing Rail freight market trends. It details on technology trends, emerging market, technology and othe rimportant aspects



One of the major challenges for rail freight market in the US is a substitution of coal by natural gas in power generation. Rail transport has always lagged behind road transport due to first and last mile transport often required in rail freight movement. Low oil prices over the past 3 years have further dented the growth of rail freight whereas making truck freight even more competitive. The high energy tax burden on the rail freight in the US and Europe is a major challenge to rail freight market. The advent of new digital marketplaces, fuel economy improvement technologies and ADAS have made road transport even more shipper friendly.

So, is the growth period for rail freight over? Well. Not exactly. The system saves the US, billions of dollars through reduced energy consumption and reduced air pollution. The rail freight system needs to improve its processes and make it shipper friendly. The deployment of digital technology on rolling stock will do just that. It will make it possible to enhance the reliability and safety of operations at the same time making them more transparent.


Rail freight market segmented by geography, freight destination and movement



China has intensified efforts to integrate all national ports and diversify their business growth model.  It wants to enhance their earning ability via measures such as sea-rail transport, intelligent port development and further expanding connectivity with markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative.

The goods exported via rail from China to Europe have expanded from electronic products, printers and laptops to now include  food, wine, apparel and even cars.

China is also looking to promote technical innovation in rail freight market. For example, a Chinese rail company has started selling low-emissions freight containers that maintain low temperature doing away with fuel-generated refrigeration.The invention, utilizing phase-change materials has the potential to drive down emissions produced in cooling rail and road freight containers.



The rail freight volume remained very much stable during 2000-2013, as compared to road freight which grew by 7% during the same period. The overall share of rail freight in Europe  came down to ~17% in 2013 from ~20% in 2000. The road freight share, on the other hand, grew from ~72% to ~75% in the same duration. The rail freight market across the globe is in dire need of better policies supporting the growth of railroad and intermodal freight transport.

The global rail freight market is estimated at $220B-$250B annually.


So far, there is no clear global leader in rail freight market but there are multiple regional leaders.

In recent years, trends in infrastructure charges, especially compared with other modes of transport, have significantly impacted the competitiveness of rail freight operators. The market dominance of rail freight operators is more regionalized now than ever. For example, in US,BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad have a strong presence in the Western US, and CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern are predominant in the Eastern US. This market has also seen frequent merger to reduce competition and maintain healthy freight rates over past 2 decades.


  1. CSX Corporation
  2. Norfolk Southern
  3. Canadian Pacific
  4. CSX Corporation
  5. DB Cargo AG
  6. Deutsche Post AG(DHL Group)
  7. Gensee & Wyoming
  8. BNSF Railway Company
  9. SNCF
  10. Union Pacific Railroad
  11. Swiss Federal Railways
  12. Hector Rail
  13. The Freightliner Group
  14. VTG Rail Europe GmbH



  1. What are the most important technology trends in regional rail freight market?
  2. Changes in containers/wagons in coming years
  3. Impact of Belt and road initiative on global rail freight market
  4. How has tariff war impacted China-Europe, China-US trade and its effects on rail freight?
  5. Freight rate trends in past 12 months on  major routes
  6. Market share of major vendors in US, Europe and China

This report includes: 

1. Market Size
2. Market Segmentation
3. Market Forecast (Volume and Value)
  • By Geography -( Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and North America)
  • By Cargo type – (Dry bulk, Vehicles, Machinery and Consumer goods)
  • By Mode – (Domestic and Ports Intermodal
Back to top