The Bank of Italy conducts a sample survey on Italy's international merchandise transport since 1998.
The survey, which contributes to the compilation of the "services" item of the balance of payments, collects data on freight rates broken down by mode of transport and type of load; moreover, carriers' market shares by nationality of residence are estimated. The new annual report, referring to 2020, is available in the Statistics series.
The results of the survey, based on interviews with 212 transport operators, show for 2020 a trend largely influenced by the pandemic. The costs of air transport have risen sharply as a result of the drastic decline in air flights; in the maritime sector significant increases were observed in container transport, in particular in the routes with the Far East, while in the bulk sector freight rates were affected by the reduction in demand for raw materials. For road and rail, the effects of the pandemic on transport costs were minor. The deficit in Italy's merchant transport balance increased compared to the previous year, despite the fact that the market shares of resident carriers remained stable on average.