Without transport there can be no globalization, neither connectivity of people nor ideas, nor regional trade. This book provides a critical assessment of surface freight transport and of airfreight movements in key continents for the last decades of the twentieth century and for the present one. By ‘critical assessment’, one means doing a careful evaluation of how the relationships among freight transport activity, trade and space interact with each other. China is registering higher economic growth, vigorous export performance and a growing air cargo market both domestically and offshore. In contrast to China, the European Union and the North America regions (in this book, mainly the USA and Mexico) are registering far lower economic and trade expansion and within these two regions there are winds that favour the adoption of protectionist trade policies under the banners of Brexit and Trump’s ‘America First’. It remains to be seen how global trade policy is bent towards protectionism, which will inevitably lower the expansion of all transport modes: air, road, ocean, rail and waterways and of the entire freight transport sector. The recent inclusion of Italy within the Road and Belt initiative (R&B) which will extend from East Asia, mainly China to Europe is likely to stimulate the growth of global and European freight transport. The intent of R&B initiative involves Chinese investment in a network of infrastructure projects connecting Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
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