The rest of the explosion in traffic comes from trucks, which take up, on average, two and a half times more space than cars. There are more of them on our roads today than there were before the covid pandemic. Online commerce has already grown significantly during the confinement period and the habit is well established.
E-commerce also generates more intensive global logistics since many products purchased online come from other continents. They arrive at our ports and airports and are largely distributed via heavy goods vehicles. In 2021, the import of automotive electronic chips suffered delays caused during the epidemic.
Last October, trucks covered our major routes at least 12.3 million kilometers per workday on average. These figures confirm the predictions of the Federal Planning Office regarding mobility on our roads by 2040: passenger traffic should increase by only 8%, while freight transport should swell by more than 20% over the next 18 years. If goods are not transported more via waterways and railways by then, the average speed on our highways will drop by 10-15% by 2040 due to increased traffic congestion, the Planning Bureau calculates.
To illustrate the seriousness of the traffic jams last October, Hajo Beckmann (VRT NWS) also points to several road works, starting with the emergency repairs of the Merksem Bridge (photo), which on several occasions completely blocked traffic around Antwerp.