Back on track: Track improvements and capacity expansion are expected to benefit the industry

The United Kingdom boasts the world’s oldest railway system, having one of the 20 largest rail networks in the world. Industry operators move goods on main-line rail networks and dedicated short-line railways. After privatisation in the 1990s, freight rail transport remains dominated by a small number of major providers due to the industry’s high barriers to entry and the economies of scale that exist for current operators. In 2018-19, the four largest players in the industry are expected to generate 87.7% of industry revenue.The industry’s performance is influenced by the total amount of freight carried on railways, the level of business confidence, industrial production and competition from road more.

Industry Statistics & Market Size
Annual Growth 14-19
Forecast Growth 19-24

Industry Threats & Opportunities

  • Track improvements and capacity expansion allow operators to be more competitive
  • Strong demand for the intermodal container business has supported   industry to an extent
  • Freight road transport will most likely remain the industry’s greatest competitor
  • Industry Report - Industry Locations Chapter

    The distribution of establishments in the Freight Rail Transport industry is influenced by the location of start and end user markets. In this case, journeys frequently begin and end at ports and areas of major industrial activity as containerised goods are moved between the two points.LondonIt is expected that London contains 13.6% of business locations, partially due to the head office of most rail freight transportation companies having head offices located there. London is also experiencing a large infrastructure boom, requiring aggregate and construction goods to be transported via rail, such as Crossrail, HS2, the Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Var...purchase to read more.

    Additional Insights for the Freight Rail Transport Industry

    IBISWorld identifies 250 Key Success Factors for a business.The most important for the Freight Rail Transport Industry are

  • Effective cost controls
  • Having an extensive distribution/collection network
  • Access to secure revenues
  • IBISWorld analysts also discuss how external factors such as Business confidence index and Demand from freight road transport in the Freight Rail Transport industry impact industry performance..

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    What's in this report

    What is the Freight Rail Transport Industry?

    Operators in this industry transport goods via rail using both main-line and short-line rail networks. The industry does not include the related warehousing, storage, cargo handling or freight terminal activities. Neither does it encompass the operation of railway infrastructure or switching and shunting activities.

    Industry Products
  • Transporting coal
  • Transporting metals
  • Transporting construction materials
  • International freight transport
  • Domestic intermodal transport
  • Transporting other goods
  • Transporting oil and petroleum
  • Industry Activities
  • Transporting freight via mainline rail networks
  • Transporting freight via short-line freight railways
  • Transporting freight via inter-urban railways
  • Table of Contents

    Industry Definition
    Main Activities
    Similar Industries
    Additional Resources
    Industry Statistics Snapshot
    Industry Structure
    Executive Summary
    Executive Summary
    Key External Drivers
  • Business confidence index
  • Demand from freight road transport
  • Industrial production index
  • World price of crude oil
  • Demand from electricity production

  • Current Performance
  • Tracking changes
  • On the right track
  • Safety net
  • Going green
  • Government grants
  • Chart: Revenue Growth

  • Industry Outlook
  • The road to success
  • Better connected
  • Charges along the right lines
  • Future regulation
  • Table: Freight Rail Transport Industry Revenue Outlook

  • Industry Life Cycle
  • Life cycle reasons
  • Chart: Benchmarking - Freight Rail Transport Industry Lifecycle vs The Economy

  • Supply Chains
    Key Buying Industries
  • Petroleum Refining
  • Cement Manufacturing
  • Iron & Steel Manufacturing
  • Electricity Supply
  • Supermarkets

  • Key Selling Industries
  • Freight Forwarding & Customs Agents
  • Railway Equipment Manufacturing

  • Products & Services
  • Domestic intermodal transport
  • Transporting construction materials
  • Transporting other goods
  • Transporting metals
  • Transporting oil and petroleum
  • Transporting coal
  • International freight transport
  • Chart: Freight Rail Transport Industry Products and Services Segmentation

  • Demand Determinants
    Major Markets
  • Retailers and wholesalers
  • Construction industries
  • Manufacturers
  • Mining and energy companies
  • Other
  • Oil and petroleum industries
  • Chart: Major Market Segmentation for the Freight Rail Transport Industry

  • International Trade
    Business Locations
    Chart: Business Locations by State
    Market Share Concentration
    Key Success Factors
    Cost Structure Benchmarks
    ProfitWagesPurchasesMaintenanceThe cost of maintenance, which is included under purchases in the chart, is affected by the average age of rolling stock, which has increased in recent years in line with falling expenditure on new rolling stock. Over the five years through 2017-18, the average age of rolling stock has increased from 18.6 years old to 19.6 years old. Maintenance is expected to have increased as a share of revenue as a result, accounting for 12.9% of revenue in 2018-19. However, the rejuvenation of fleets over the coming years is expected to reduce the average age of Britain’s fleet to 15 years by March 2021, according to a report published in March 2017 by the Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group.Rail equipment leasingRent and utilitiesDepreciation and other costs
  • Chart: Cost Structure Benchmarking – Sector vs Freight Rail Transport

  • Basis of Competition
    Internal competitionExternal competition
    Barriers to Entry
  • Table: Barrier to Entry Checklist for the Freight Rail Transport Industry

  • Industry Globalization
    DB Cargo (UK) Ltd, Freightliner Group Limited, GB Railfreight Ltd, Direct Rail Services Limited,
  • Table: DB Cargo (UK) Ltd - financial performance
  • Table: Freightliner Group Limited - financial performance
  • Table: GB Railfreight Ltd - financial performance
  • Table: Direct Rail Services Limited - financial performance

  • Capital Intensity
  • Chart: Level of Capital Intensity for the Freight Rail Transport Industry
  • Chart: Tools of the Trade: Growth Strategies for Success

  • Technology & Systems
    Revenue Volatility
  • Chart: Volatility vs Industry Growth

  • Regulation & Policy
    Industry Assistance
    Table: Industry Data for the Freight Rail Transport Industry
  • Industry Revenue (2010-2024)
  • Industry Gross Product (2010-2024)
  • Establishments (2010-2024)
  • Businesses (2010-2024)
  • Employment (2010-2024)
  • Wages (2010-2024)
  • Wages (2010-2024)
  • Purchases (2010-2024)
  • Profit (2010-2024)
  • Depreciation (2010-2024)
  • Marketing (2010-2024)
  • Rent (2010-2024)
  • Utilities (2010-2024)
  • Other (2010-2024)

  • Table: Annual Percentage Change for Key Industry Data
    Table: Key Ratios for Industry Key Data
    Control Period
  • Network Rail sets plans and budgets in five-year periods called control periods, in which it establishes regulations and charges that effect industry operators.
  • Intermodal Transport
  • When shipping containers are moved on standardised trailers using different modes of transport.
  • Rolling Stock
  • The wheeled vehicles owned and used by a rail operator, including locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars.
  • Tonne Kilometres
  • The weight of freight hauled in tonnes, multiplied by the distance hauled in kilometres.
  • What Our Customers Say

    Why buy this report?

    IBISWorld’s Freight Rail Transport market research report provides the latest industry statistics and industry trends, allowing you to identify the products and customers driving revenue growth and profitability. The industry report identifies the leading companies and offers strategic industry analysis of the key factors influencing the market.

    IBISWorld industry market research reports enable you to:
    • Find out about key industry trends
    • Identify threats and opportunities
    • Inform your decisions for marketing, strategy and planning
    • Quickly build competitive intelligence
    This report on Freight Rail Transport:
    • Provides Market Size information to assist with planning and strategic decisions.
    • Includes the necessary information to perform SWOT, PEST and STEER analysis.
    • Helps you understand market dynamics to give you a deeper understanding industry competition and the supply chain.
    • Analyses key performance and operational metrics so that you can benchmark against your own business, that of your customers’ businesses, or your competitors’ businesses.
    The Freight Rail Transport market research report includes:
    • Historical data and analysis for the key drivers of this industry
    • A five-year forecast of the market and noted trends
    • Detailed research and segmentation for the main products and markets
    • An assessment of the competitive landscape and market shares for major companies
    • And of course, much more

    IBISWorld reports on thousands of industries around the world. Our clients rely on our information and data to stay up-to-date on industry trends across all industries. With this IBISWorld Industry Research Report on Freight Rail Transport, you can expect thoroughly researched, reliable and current information that will help you to make faster, better business decisions.

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