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 markets with sales of goods worth just over 9 billion pounds in 2008. Meanwhile, UK sales to Italy were valued at 13 billion pounds in the same year.
So freight forwarding between the two countries is a well oiled machine, and there are many freight 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 an agriculture based economy which had been very badly affected by the results of the war, into a major industrialised economy and a leader in international trade. The freight services sector in Italy has developed in tandem.
Italy is a highly developed country, and, according to The Economist, has the world's eighth highest quality of life. The country enjoys an especially high standard of living, and is the world's 18th most developed country, higher than Germany, UK and Greece. As a result, Italian consumers are sophisticated and demanding, especially in terms of quality. They therefore have a taste for good quality and market leading imports from the UK, especially in technology and quality consumer goods. Some up-market fashionable UK brands are also in demand in Italy as imports.The client of shipping companies to Italy reflects this.
Despite this, Italy's economy suffers from many problems. After strong growth between 1964-1988,the last ten years' average yearly growth rate has fallen behind the European average. What's more, Italian living standards reflect a considerable north-south divide. The average Gross Domestic Product per capita in Northern Italy may far exceed the EU average, whilst some regions and provinces in Southern Italy are well below the European average. Italy is sometimes called the sick man of Europe. Freight transport options are correspondingly more numerous in the developed north.
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 global multinational companies 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. Freight forwarders have been keen to attract custom from these kind of businesses and they make up the vast majority of the customer base of an average Italian shipping company or freight company.
Italy's most important 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 thus many international freight transport options for cars and other vehicles.
It is a surprising fact that Italy is the world's 6th highest exporter.
Contributing to this, Italy is an important agricultural exporter. Italy is the largest kiwifruit, grape and artichoke producer in the world. The country also exports and produces more wine than anywhere else in the world.
Italy's closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, 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.