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Italian Logistics Overview



Even those of us who failed geography in school can likely point out Italy on a map. The distinctive boot-shaped peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean sea is a popular vacation spot for history buffs, hopeless romantics, beach lovers, and foodies alike. What most vacationers don't consider, however, is that Italy is also a fantastic country from logistics companies due to the complex freight and logistics network present in the country.

Italy covers an area of more than 301,000 km2 with a population of about 60 million people. Due to its location in the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been a vital shipping and freight region, especially for ocean freight. Throughout its long history, Italy has experienced many economic ups and downs, however today it has the eighth-largest economy in the world and the third-largest in the Eurozone. Thanks to its successful economy, Italy has a vast network of very advanced infrastructure in place for freight movement.

Like much of Europe, rail is a prominent mode of transportation for both goods and people throughout the continent. In 2016, Italy was home to more than 17000 km of useable railway tracks in an efficient network that crisscrosses the country. In 2010 more than 19.5 billion tonne-kilometers of goods were transported by rail. Though efficient and effective for transportation of goods, rail is the most popular method of moving people around the country.

Road transport is an incredibly popular method of moving freight around the country. In 2010 about 149 billion tonne-kilometers of freight was moved on Italian roads, more than 7 times the amount moved by rail in the same year. More than 300,000 Italian people are directly employed in the transportation of road freight, with many more employed in supporting roles like warehousing and manufacturing. It is estimated that Italian road freight will reach 55.8 billion USD in revenue by 2023.

Road and rail are the most popular freight methods in Italy, but they aren't the only options. Freight transport by inland waterways accounted for 135 million tonne-kilometers in 2010. Since many of Italy's major cities are on important riverways or coasts, the use of water in transport is an effective way to move goods. In 2017 Italian airports handled about 1 million tonnes of air freight moving into, out of, or around the country. For international transport, Italy frequently utilizes ocean, road, and rail modes of transport, depending on the desired destination for the shipment. Italy is a net exporter of goods, exporting an estimated $482 billion in 2017, mostly to other European countries and to the United States.

Italy is working hard to remain at the top of their logistics games. In 2016 the investments in Italian logistics was valued at 635 billion euros. Companies are using these investments to advance technology across the sector. In 2018 it is estimated that about 80% of mid- or large-sized logistics companies, and about 48% of small-sized logistics companies, were using automation in some stage of their processes. That number is expected to continue to grow.


Routeique is thrilled to be visiting Italy, seeing the natural and historical beauty of the country and exploring the economic potential of the Italian logistics sector. Continue to follow along with our European journey here through our blogs, or on our Instagram page.

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