Italy - An Economy With A Vibrant International Freight SceneItaly - An Economy With A Vibrant International Freight Scene

Italy is a forward-looking country with a dynamic freight transport sector, which supports its imports and exports activity.

The United Kingdom is one of Italy's largest export customers with sales of goods worth just over 9 billion pounds in 2008. Meanwhile, UK sales to Italy were worth over 13 billion pounds in the same period.

So freight forwarding between the two countries is a well oiled machine, and there are many shipping companies with expertise in arranging services between Italy and England.

in 2008, Italy was the seventh-largest economy in the world and the fourth-largest in Europe.

After the second world war, Italy changed from being a farming based economy which had been severely affected by the results of the war, into an important industrialised economy and a leader in international trade. The freight services sector in Italy has developed in tandem.

Italy is a highly developed nation, and, according to The Economist, has the world's 8th highest quality of life. The country has an especially high standard of living, and is the world's 18th most developed country, higher than Germany, United Kingdom and Greece. Consequently, Italian buyers are sophisticated and demanding, especially in terms of quality. They therefore have a taste for good quality and innovative imports from the United Kingdom, especially in technology and quality consumer goods. Some up-market fashionable British brands are also in demand in Italy as imports.The customer base of shipping companies to Italy reflects this.

Despite this, Italy's economy suffers from many problems. After strong expansion between 1964-1988,the last decade's average annual growth rate has fallen behind the European average. What's more, Italian living standards show a considerable north-south divide. The average GDP per capita in Northern Italy may far exceed the EU average, whilst some regions and provinces in Southern Italy are well below the EU average. Italy is sometimes called the sick man of Europe. Freight transport options are correspondingly more available in the developed northern region.

The Italian economy is undermined by lack of infrastructure development, market reform programmes and investment in research. Italy still receives financial aid from the EU. To this extent, the freight industry is held back and it is not at the cutting edge in the same way as it is in countries like Sweden.

Italy has fewer world-class multinationals than other economies of its size, but there are a large number of small and medium sized businesses, and in the North, there are many companies involved in industrial and machinery production. This has led to a manufacturing industry focused on exports of niche and luxury products. Shipping companies have been keen to attract business from these kind of businesses and they comprise the vast majority of the customer base of an average Italian shipping company or freight company.

Italy's major exports and freight cargo by sector are motor vehicles, chemicals, electrical engineering, home appliances, aerospace and defence technologies, firearms, fashion, food processing, sport and luxury vehicles. The automotive industry is the fifth largest automobile producer in Europe. There are therefore many international freight forwarding options for cars and other vehicles.

It is a surprising fact that Italy is the world's sixth highest exporter.

Contributing to this, Italy is an important fresh food exporter. Italy is the largest kiwifruit, grape and artichoke producer worldwide. The country also exports and produces more wine than anywhere else worldwide.

Italy's closest trade ties are with the other countries of the EU, with whom it conducts about 60% of its total international trade. Italy's largest European Union, in order of market share, are Germany, France and Spain followed by the UK. So the international freight infrastructure linking these countries is very robust and a freight forwarding will be guaranteed a high level of service.
by Stephen Willis
References and Bibliography
Stephen Willis is Managing Director of RW Freight Services a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from Italy Italy
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