Review of Sustainable Transport Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific 2019

Sustainable Freight Transport

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Within the transport sector in Asia and the Pacific freight and logistics account for a significant portion of total energy use – in many countries upward of 40% – and a correspondingly large share of CO2 emissions. Furthermore, on account of economic development and population growth, the region is expected to face substantial increases in trade shares and, thus, freight volumes. Accordingly, some estimates suggest that in Asia, ton-kilometres from surface freight will increase by 261% from 2015 to 2050 accounting for over two-thirds of all surface freight globally. Against this background, the Review provides a data-supported overview and insight for policy makers towards accomplishing seamless intermodal freight transport connectivity across key economic, social and environmental dimensions.



Land transport connectivity in Asia and the Pacific

Among the many regional and subregional transport initiatives, the definition and formalization of the regional networks of Asian Highways, trans-Asian railway and dry ports, remain a milestone in the regional transport cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. Since their inception, the Asian Highway and trans-Asian railway networks have been included in the national plans of many member States. They are also being used as a reference for the development of subregional cooperation programmes in the Greater Mekong Subregion and by organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). For example, the ASEAN Highway network was formulated on the basis of the Asian Highway network, with the same technical and design standards. Within the CAREC initiative of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and BIMSTEC, road networks have been formulated with reference to the Asian Highway routes and design standards and ECO has also adopted the Asian Highway design standard for its road network.71 The definition of a network of dry ports under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports72 has increased the operational efficiency of the Asian Highway and trans-Asian railway networks, extending their reach to wider areas and facilitating their integration with the region’s main maritime ports and other transport modes.


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