Land transport
Rail transport
Air Transportation
Water Transportation

Transport – Introduction

  • The different modes of transport are air, water, and land transport, which includes rail, road and off-road transport. Other modes also exist, including pipelines, cable transport, and space transport. Human-powered transport and animal-powered transport are sometimes regarded as their own mode, but never fall into the other categories.
  • In general, transportation is used for the movement of people, animals, and other things.
  • Each mode of transport has a fundamentally different technological solution, and some require a separate environment.
  • Each mode has its own infrastructure, vehicles, and operations.

Land transport

Land transport is the transport or movement of people, animals or goods from one location to another on land. The two main forms of land transport are rail transport and road transport.

Several systems of land transport have been devised, from the most basic system of humans carrying things from place to sophisticated networks of ground-based transportation utilizing different types of vehicles and infrastructure. The three types are human-powered, animal powered and machine powered.

The world’s biggest road networks

The US boasts the world’s largest road network, followed by China and India, the world’s two most populous countries. profiles the ten biggest road networks in the world based on total road length.

United States of America

The US road network exceeds 6.58 million kilometres in total length, making it the world’s longest and biggest road network. It comprises approximately 4.3 million kilometres of paved roads including 76,334km of expressways and 2.28 million kilometres of unpaved roads. The country’s road network includes many of the world’s longest highways.

The country’s vast highway network consists of three categories of roads, namely the interstate highways (Interstates), the US numbered highways (US Routes), and the state highways. The Interstate 90 (I-90), which connects Seattle, Washington, Boston and Massachusetts, spans over 4,990km and is the longest Interstate Highway in the country.

Route 20 (US 20), an east-west highway measuring 5,415km in length, is the longest single road in the country and one of the world’s longest highways.


China has the world’s second-biggest road network, exceeding 4.24 million kilometres (as of 2012 data). National highways and provincial highways respectively comprise 4% and 7% of the Chinese road network. The country’s expressway network, which extends over 96,000km, is the world biggest network of this type.

The national-level expressway system of China, known as the National Trunk Highway System (NTHS), comprises seven radial expressways from the capital city Beijing, nine north-south expressways, and 18 east-west expressways. The 5,700km-long China National Highway 010 (Tongsan Expressway) is one of the ten longest highways in the world.

The Chinese road network has witnessed rapid development in the last decade and the trend is set to continue in future. The country’s 2030 Road Master Plan envisages 5.8 million kilometres of total road network including 400,000km of national highways and over 180,000km of expressways.


India’s road network, which spanned over 4.1 million kilometres by 2012, ranks as the third biggest in the world. The road network is the key transport infrastructure, accounting for 65% of freight and 80% of total passenger traffic in the country.

The Indian road network comprises over 79,000km of national highways and express highways, over 1.5 million kilometres of state highways and approximately 4.4 million kilometres of district and village roads. National highways comprise slightly less than 2% of the road network but account for about 40% of total road traffic.

The Golden Quadrilateral highway network which spans 5,846km and connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – the four major Indian cities – is one of the biggest highway networks in the world.

The National Highway 44 or NH 44 (previously named NH 7), a 2,369km-long north-south national highway running through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, is the country’s single longest national highway.


The Brazilian road network, with a total length of approximately 1.6 million kilometres, is the fourth biggest road network in the world. The road network operated under federal jurisdiction covers 74,000km in length, while state and municipal jurisdiction roads cover 242,000km and 1.2 million kilometres respectively.

The majority of Brazilian roads are unpaved, and paved roads constitute just 13% of the total road network. The country has 12 federal highways and 19 state highways. Around 83% of the federal highways and 50% of the state highways are paved, whereas most municipal roads are unpaved.

The 4,800km-long BR-101 highway is the longest federal highway in the country, connecting 12 state capitals. The BR-116, a major north-south federal highway, is the second longest, measuring 4,385km.


The Russian road network covers a total length of more than 1.28 million kilometres. The network spanned 927,721km of paved roads including 39,143km of expressways and 355,666km of unpaved roads at the end of 2012.

The country’s highway network comprises 50,000km of federal highways and 527.200km of regional public highways. The Trans-Siberian Highway comprised seven federal highways and the stretch from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok is one of the longest highways in the world.

The Trans-Siberian Highway runs a total length of 11,000km, coincides with European route E30, and passes through Kazakhstan. The longest section of the highway is the Russian route M58 or the Amur Federal Highway that runs 2,100km from Chita to Khabarovsk.


The Japanese road network covers 1.21 million kilometres, a remarkable figure for an island nation. Paved roads constitute 973,000km of the network, whereas the remaining 237,000km of roads are unpaved.

The Japanese road network includes 7,920km of national expressways, 55,114km of national highways, and 129,334km of provincial highways. The remaining 84% of the road network is made up of municipal roads.

The national expressway network provides an uninterrupted link between Aomori Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture. The 679.5km Tohoku Expressway, which links the Tohoku region with the Kanto region as well as the greater Tokyo urban area, is the longest national expressway in the country. The 743.6km National Route 4 that connects Tokyo and Aomori is the longest highway in the country.


The Canadian road network, which covered 1.04 million kilometres as of 2011, is the world’s seventh biggest network. The country’s paved roads measure 415,600km, while unpaved roads constitute approximately 626,700km.

The national highway system includes over 38,000km of important national and regional highways. Most of the Canadian highway network is maintained under provincial jurisdiction.

The Trans-Canada Highway, a highway system passing through all ten provinces of Canada, is the only highway network under the federal jurisdiction. The 8,030km-long highway is among the five longest highways in the world.


France’s 1.02 million kilometre road network is the eighth biggest in the world and comprises motorways (Autoroutes), national trunk roads (Routes Nationales), and local roads (Routes Départementales).

The motorways, trunk roads and local roads in the country are designated ‘A’, ‘N’ and ‘D’ followed by numbers. The country’s Autoroute system, largely consisting of toll roads, measures over 11,400km, making it one of the biggest European motorway networks.

The 549km-long A10 motorway, also known as L’Aquitaine, that links Paris and Bordeaux, is the longest motorway in France. The A89 motorway, stretching from Bordeaux to Clermont-Ferrand and beyond, is the second longest motorway in the country.


Australia has the world’s ninth-biggest road network, measuring over 823,000km in length and constituting 356,000km of paved roads and over 466,000km of unpaved roads. The network comprises expressways, national highways and local roads.

The vast national highway network passes through all Australian states. Highway 1, a network of highways circumnavigating the Australian continent with a total length of around 14,500km, is the world’s longest national highway.

Major highways include the Hume Highway linking Sydney and Melbourne, the Pacific Highway linking Sydney and Brisbane, the Princes Highway linking Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and the Eyre Highway that links Adelaide and Perth.


The Spanish road network, excluding non-paved roads, spans a total length of over 683,000km and is the tenth biggest network in the world. It consists of 16,205km of expressways, 25,733km of national highways and over 71,000km of regional highways.

The Spanish motorway network is the world’s fifth-biggest, following China, the US, Russia and Canada. The motorways in Spain are known as autopistas and autovías. The country had 2,991km of toll highways and 2,500km of toll motorways as of 2011, managed by concessionaires.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a €465m ($630m) loan for Spain in December 2013 to construct several new bypasses and access roads, as well as upgrade and widen existing national roads.

Road transport

Road transport is a type of transport by using roads.

Types of Roads in India

    • Non-urban Roads: Non-urban roads within the country are classified into six types:

1) Expressways

2) National Highways

3) State Highways

4) Major District Roads:

5) Other District Roads

6) Village Roads

  • Urban Roads:

Rail transport

Rail transport

Rail transport is a means of transferring of passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, also known as tracks. It is also commonly referred to as train transport.

The United States has the world’s longest railway network, followed by China and India.

United States: 250,000km

The US rail network, with an operating route length over 250,000km, is the biggest in the world. Freight lines constitute about 80% of the country’s total rail network, while the total passenger network spans about 35,000km.

The US freight rail network consists of 538 railroads (seven Class I railroads, 21 regional railroads, and 510 local railroads) operated by private organisations. Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway are among the largest freight railroad networks in the world. The national passenger rail network Amtrak comprises of more than 30 train routes connecting 500 destinations across 46 American states.

A plan is in place to build a 27,000km national high speed rail system in four phases by 2030. Construction of the California high-speed rail, the country’s first high-speed rail project, was well underway by the beginning of 2014. Three more high-speed projects including the Midwest high-speed rail line connecting Chicago with Indianapolis or St. Louis, Texas high-speed rail, and the Northeast High-Speed Corridor are under development.

China: 100,000km

China’s rail network, with a route length of over 100,000km, ranks as the second biggest rail network in the world. The extensive network, operated by state-owned China Railway Corporation, carried 2.08 billion passengers (the second highest after Indian Railways) and 3.22 billion tonnes of freight (the second highest after the US railway network) in 2013.

Rail is the principal mode of transport in China. The country’s rail network consists of over 90,000km of conventional rail routes and approximately 10,000km of high-speed lines. The total rail network of the country is targeted to exceed 270,000km by 2050.

The rapid expansion of China’s high-speed rail network in recent years makes it by far the largest in the world. The 2,298km Beijing – Guangzhou high speed line is the world’s longest high-speed railway line. The total length of China’s high-speed rail network is projected to reach 50,000km by 2020.

Russia: 85,500km

Russia’s whole network, operated by state-owned monopoly Russian Railways (RZD), runs for over 85,500km. In 2013, the network carried 1.08 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight – the third highest freight volume after the US and China.

The Russian railway network incorporates12 main lines, many of which provide direct connections to the European and Asian national railway systems such as Finland, France, Germany, Poland, China, Mongolia and North Korea. The Trans-Siberian Railway (the Moscow-Vladivostok line), spanning a length of 9,289km, is the longest and one of the busiest railway lines in the world.

RZD introduced the Sapsan high-speed rail service between St. Petersburg and Moscow in 2009, but it has not proved successful due to sharing existing lines with low-speed train operations. A dedicated high-speed corridor between the two cities has been planned with a proposed investment of $35bn. RZD expects to have 2,500km of high-speed rail between Moscow and Kiev, Minsk and Kursk by 2015.

India: 65,000km

The Indian nationwide rail network, the fourth longest in the world, is owned and operated by state-owned Indian Railways and includes an operating route length of more than 65,000km. The network carried about eight billion passengers (the highest in the world) and 1.01 million tonnes of freight (fourth highest in the world) in 2013.

The Indian railway network is divided into 17 zones and operates more than 19,000 trains per day, including 12,000 passenger trains and 7,000 freight trains. The national railway operator plans to add 4,000km of new lines by 2017, as well as significant gauge conversion, doubling and electrification of its existing aging lines. It also plans to add 3,338km of exclusive freight network by 2017 with the implementation of Eastern & Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC), two of the six identified dedicated freight corridors in India.

Six high-speed corridors have also been identified for implementation in the country. The 534km Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed link is being advanced as a pilot project with an estimated investment of $9.65bn.

Canada: 48,000km

Canada’s 48,000km of rail lines makes its national network the fifth longest in the world. Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) are the two major freight rail networks operating in the country, while Via Rail operates the 12,500km intercity passenger rail service. Algoma Central Railway and Ontario Northland Railway are among the other smaller railways providing passenger services to certain rural areas in the country.

Three Canadian cities – Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – have extensive commuter train systems. In addition, the Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific offer luxury rail tours to view the scenic beauty of certain mountainous areas in the country.

Canada, however, does not have a single high-speed line on its railway network. Many high-speed lines such as Toronto-Montreal, Calgary-Edmonton and Montreal-Boston have been proposed, but none of these have progressed beyond preliminary studies as of January 2014.

Germany: 41,000km

State-owned Deutshe Bahn dominates Germany’s 41,000km railway network, accounting for about 80% of the total freight traffic and 99% of the long-distance passenger traffic.

More than 150 private railway companies apart from Deutshe Bahn operate on the network, providing regional passenger and freight services. The S-Bahn serves major suburban areas, while the Hamburg Cologne Express (HKX) is the major long-distance passenger operator after Deutshe Bahn.

The German railway network had more than 1,300km of high-speed railway track operational as of mid-2013 and more than 400km of new high-speed line under construction. Deutshe Bahn opened high-speed services, under the name InterCity Express (ICE), for the first time in 1991. The high-speed network, operated at speeds up to 320km/h, now connects major German cities and neighbouring countries such as France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.

Australia: 40,000km

The Australian railway network is the world’s seventh longest at more than 40,000km. Most of the railway network infrastructure is owned and maintained by the Australian government either at the federal or state level. The majority of the trains on the network are, however, operated by private companies.

Aurizon (formerly QR National), Genesee and Wyoming Australia, and Pacific National are among the major freight operators on the network. Great Southern Railway, NSW TrainLink and Queensland Rail are the leading long-distance passenger rail operators. Metro Trains Melbourne, Sydney Trains, V/Line and Adelaide Metro operate commuter passenger services in major suburban areas. In addition, a number of private mining railways operate in the country.

The Australian railway network does not have a high-speed line yet. A high-speed rail network connecting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne is proposed to be built with an estimated capital cost of $114bn, but the first phase of the 1,748km high-speed network will not be realised before 2035.

Argentina: 36,000km

Argentina’s current rail network spanning over 36,000km in length ranks the eighth largest in the world. Argentina used to have about 47,000km of rail network at the end of the Second World War, mostly operated by British and French-owned railway companies. But the decline of profits and the rise of highway construction in the subsequent decades reduced the network to the 36,000km of line that exists today. The railway companies operating on the network were nationalised in 1948 with the creation of the state railroad corporation Ferrocarriles Argentinos.

The Argentinean railway was privatised between 1992 and 1995 with the grant of concessions to different private companies for operating six divisions of the formerly state-owned rail network. Cities such as Buenos Aires, Resistencia and Mendoza offer extensive suburban passenger services, as well as the long distance passenger lines in the country.

The much talked-about Argentine high-speed railway is not a reality yet. An announcement was made in 2006 to develop a 310km high-speed line between Buenos Aires and Rosario. The project was, however, not implemented as of 2013. A second high-speed line stretching 400km between Rosario and Cordoba has also been proposed.

France: 29,000km

At 29,000km, the French railway network is the second biggest in Europe and the ninth biggest in the world. The French railway network is predominantly passenger-centric and more than 50% of the country’s lines are electrified. State-owned Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) is the principal railway operator in the country.

The country’s high-speed long distance passenger services are known as Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) and the standard long-distance passenger services are branded Intercités. The short and middle distance passenger rail services are known as Transport Express Régional (TER). The network offers linkages to adjacent countries such as Belgium, Italy and the UK.

France was one of the early adopters of high-speed rail technology; SNCF brought into operation the TGV high-speed rail in 1981. The country’s current high-speed network exceeds a length of 1,550km. The Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail project, which is due for completion in 2017, will add another 302km into the network.

Brazil: 28,000km

The first railway line in Brazil became operational in 1984. The railway network was nationalised in 1957 with the creation of Rede Ferroviária Federal Sociedade Anônima (RFFSA). The country’s railway network was divided into different services to be operated by a range of private and public operators by 2007.

The 28,000km network is predominantly freight-focussed and includes major iron ore rail lines. The country’s passenger rail services are mostly concentrated in urban and suburban areas. Eight Brazilian cities have metro systems, São Paulo Metro being the biggest among them.

In 2012, the Brazilian government announced the construction of 10,000km of new lines comprised of freight and high-speed passenger lines by 2042. A 511km high-speed rail link between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro has been planned for development in the country, but the project is yet to take off.


Air Transportation

Air transport is an important enabler to achieving economic growth and development. Air transport facilitates integration into the global economy and provides vital connectivity on a national, regional, and international scale. It helps generate trade, promote tourism, and create employment opportunities. The World Bank has financed aviation-related projects for over sixty years. Today, the WBG remains actively engaged in every region on projects related to air transport policy and regulation, safety, infrastructure rehabilitation, institutional strengthening, and capacity building.

Air travel can be separated into two general classifications: national/domestic and international flights. Flights from one point to another within the same country are called domestic flights. Flights from a point in one country to a point within a different country are known as international flights. Travelers can use domestic or international flights in either private or public travel.






United States








United Kingdom































Air transport, passengers carried – Country Ranking

Water Transportation

Water transportation is the intentional movement of water over large distances. Methods of transportation fall into three categories:

    • Aqueducts, which include pipelines, canals, and tunnels
    • container shipment, which includes transport by tank truck, tank car, and tank ship.
    • Towing, where a tugboat is used to pull an iceberg or a large water bag along behind it.

Due to its weight, transportation of water is very energy intensive. Unless it has the assistance of gravity, a canal or long-distance pipeline will need pumping stations at regular intervals. In this regard, the lower friction levels of the canal make it a more economical solution than the pipeline. Water transportation is also very common along rivers and oceans.

Waterways are the most suitable and cheapest for the international trade. International trade is carried out through ports and harbours which are connected with hinterlands through railways, roads or inland waterways. Water Transport includes transportation from canals, lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. It can be classified as national and international transportation. The water transport can be divided into two parts: (a) Inland water transport; (b) Ocean water transport. The list of International Sea routes are discussed below:

International Sea Routes for Navigation

1. South Atlantic Oceanic Route

This route joins North America and Europe with South America. Through this, waterway, the industrial goods from North America and Europe are transported to South America. The major products transported by this oceanic route are machines, electric goods, goods of daily needs, medical apparatus and medicines, railways goods, parts of airplanes and army and defence equipment.

2. North Atlantic Oceanic Route

It has much more important than any other waterways. This waterway joins the developed regions of Western Europe with the developed region of North America. There are many important parts of the world on this oceanic route, e.g. Glasgow, Manchester, Southampton, London, Rotterdam, Breman, body, Lisbon, Quebec, Montreal, New Orleans, York, Charleston, Gaveston, and New Havana. Maximum goods are transported through this waterway of the world.

3. Routes of Mediterranean Sea

This waterway joins Asia and Australia continents with North Atlantic Ocean routes. Mediterranean waterway joins together the maximum number of countries of the world. Through this waterway the raw material of eastern countries is being transported to western countries and transport industrial products to eastern countries.

4. Cape of Good Hope route

It joins Eastern Asia and Europe to southern parts of Africa. This oceanic route has lost its importance with the construction of the Suez Canal. Now-a-days, only large sized ships loaded with heavy and cheap goods sail through this oceanic route

5. North Pacific Oceanic Route

These waterways join East Asia and North America with each other. This waterway is very long. From this route the countries like China. Korea, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong take maximum benefits.

6. South Pacific Oceanic Route

It connects Australia, New Zealand, North America and Western Europe with each other. Through this oceanic route Australia exports wool, butter, cheese, skins, rubber, etc. and industrial products are imported.

7. Routes of Indian Ocean

Indian oceanic waterways are used by the countries which fall in the vicinity of the Indian Ocean. The major items exported through this route are tea, jute products, mineral ores and import items are mainly industrial products..

Shipping canals of the world

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal provides a direct link between the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean. The 77 km artificial waterway cuts across the Isthmus of Panama. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the excavation work required for the canal.The work on the canal started in 1881. In 1904, the United States took over the project, and opened the canal in 1914. In 1999 the canal was taken over by the Panama government and it’s now managed by the Panama Canal Authority.

The Suez Canal

The 193 km canal that connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea helps to reduce the journey of cargo ships from the Indian Ocean to Atlantic with 7,000 km. The alternative is to take the southern route around the Cape of Good Hope, the most southern point of the African continent.

The Suez canal was constructed between 1859 and 1869. It’s a sea level canal, no locks required. In 2014 was enlarged and a side channel was opened in 2016. This has taken the crossing capacity to 97 ships a day. The northern point of the canal is Port Said in Egypt, while the southern entry is Port Tewfik at the city of Suez.

Corinth Canal

This smaller channel is located in Greece. It’s almost no shipping significance due to the width of only 21 meters. The channel links the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It’s built at sea level with no locks. The crossing is 6.4 km in length. The building of the canal started in 1881 and was completed in 1893.

Inland Waterways

Rivers, canals, lakes and coastal areas have been important waterways since time immemorial. Boats and steamers are used as means of transport for cargo and passengers.

The development of inland waterways is dependent on the navigability width and depth of the channel, continuity in the water flow, and transport technology in use. Rivers are the only means of transport in dense forests. Very heavy cargo like coal, cement, timber and metallic ores can be transported through inland waterways. In ancient times, riverways were the main highways of transportation as in the case

of India. But they lost importance because of competition from railways, lack of water due to diversion for irrigation, and their poor maintenance.

Rhine River waterway of western Europe

Culturally and historically one of the great rivers of the continent and among the most important arteries of industrial transport in the world. It flows from two small headways in the Alps of east-central Switzerland north and west to the North Sea, into which it drains through the Netherlands. The length of the Rhine was long given as 820 miles (1,320 km), but in 2010 a shorter distance of about 765 miles (1,230 km) was proposed. An international waterway since the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, it is navigable overall for some 540 miles (870 km), as far as Rheinfelden on the Swiss-German border. Its catchment area, including the delta area, exceeds 85,000 square miles (220,000 square km).

The Danube Waterway

This important inland waterway serves Eastern Europe. The Danube river rises in the Black Forest and flows eastwards through many countries. It is navigable up to Taurna Severin.

The chief export items are wheat, maize, timber, and machinery.

The Volga Waterway

Russia has a large number of developed

waterways, of which the Volga is one of the most important. It provides a navigable waterway of 11,200 km and drains into the Caspian Sea.

The Volga-Moscow Canal connects it with the Moscow region and the Volga-Don Canal with the Black Sea.

The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway

The Great Lakes of North America Superior,

Huron Erie and Ontario are connected by Soo

Canal and Welland Canal to form an inland

waterway. The estuary of St. Lawrence River,

along with the Great Lakes, forms a unique

commercial waterway in the northern part of

North America. The ports on this route like

Duluth and Buffalo are equipped with all

facilities of ocean ports.

As such large oceangoing

vessels are able to navigate up the river

deep inside the continent to Montreal. But here

goods have to be trans-shipped to smaller

vessels due to the presence of rapids. Canals

have been constructed up to 3.5 m deep to

avoid these.


  • Pipelines are used extensively to transport liquids and gases such as water, petroleum and natural gas for an uninterrupted flow. Water supplied through pipelines is familiar to all.
  • Cooking gas or LPG is supplied through pipelines in many parts of the world.
  • Pipelines can also be used to transport liquidified coal. In New Zealand, milk is being supplied through
  • pipelines from farms to factories. In U.S.A. there is a dense network of oil pipelines from the producing areas to the consuming areas.
  • Big Inch is one such famous pipeline, which carries petroleum from the oil wells of the Gulf of Mexico to the North-eastern States.
  • About 17 per cent of all freight per tonne-km. is carried through pipelines in U.S.A.
  • In Europe, Russia, West Asia and India pipelines are used to connect oil wells to refineries, and to ports or domestic markets.
  • Turkmenistan is central Asia has extended pipelines to Iran and also to parts of China.
  • The proposed Iran-India via Pakistan international oil and natural gas pipeline will be the longest in the world.

The world’s longest oil and gas pipelines

West-East Gas Pipeline Project (WEPP)

West-East Gas Pipeline Project (WEPP) is one of the major natural gas transmission projects intended to connect the eastern markets of China, with western resources to allow mutual and sustainable development.

The project involves the construction of four pipelines which will travel along varied terrains to link the 560,000 square kilometre Tarim Basin in Xinjiang Autonomous Region and Turkmenistan with the Yangtze Delta and Pearl Delta regions.

The Yamal-Europe pipeline

The Yamal-Europe pipeline is a natural gas distribution system running across Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany. The 4,107 km-long pipeline has a diameter of 1,420mm and can carry 33 billion cubic metres a year.

Construction was carried out by dividing the length of the pipeline into different sections. The 402km Russian segment starts from the Torzhok gas transmission hub and receives gas from the Northern Tyumen Regions-Torzhok gas pipeline.

The 575km Belarusian section runs across Belarus and includes five compression stations at at Nesvizhskaya, Krupskaya, Slonimskaya, Minskaya and Orshanskaya.

Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline

Once constructed, the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO) will export crude oil from Russia to the Asian Pacific markets of Japan, China and Korea over a length of 4,700km.

The original project proposed to build a pipeline from Angarsk, Russia to Daqing in northern China. This was then combined with a pipeline project from Taishet in Irkutsk Oblast to the Far East port of Kozmino near Nakhodka in May 2003.

In October 2008, the section between Taishet and Talakan was launched in a reverse to pump oil from Surgutneftegas-owned Alinsky deposit. This pipeline was completely laid in May 2009.

The 1,963 km section from Taishet to Kozmino will run 882 km through the Amur region, 324 km through the Jewish autonomous region, 247 km through Khabarovsk territory and 570 km through Primorye.

Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL Pipeline is a new 1,897 km-long crude oil pipeline being planned by TransCanada. The cross-border pipeline will run from Hardisty in Canada to Steele City in the US state of Nebraska and cost around $7bn to construct.

The pipeline, expected to help the US reduce its natural gas imports from the Middle East and Venezuela, will transport crude oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) and Bakken supply basin to the existing Keystone Pipeline at Steele City for further delivery to US refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Kazakhstan-China pipeline

The 2,798 km-long Kazakhstan-China pipeline transports crude oil from oil fields located in western Kazakhstan to the Dushanzi refinery in Xinjiang province of China.

Construction of the pipeline was divided into three segments and carried out in two phases. The first phase included a 448km-long first section which starts at Atyrau near the Caspian Sea and ends at Kenkiyak, Kazakhstan. This section became operational towards the end of 2003.

The second phase included the construction of a 962km pipeline, which runs from Atasu in Kazakhstan to Alashankou in China, and a 761km section which runs from Kenkiyak to Kumkol in central Kazakhstan.

The Rockies Express

The Rockies Express is a 1679km-long pipeline which runs between the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Eastern Ohio.

One of the largest pipelines ever constructed in the US, the Rockies Express cost $5.6bn to complete and has the capacity to supply about 16.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year.

The project was completed in three sections. The 528km REX Entrega section runs between the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County in Colorado and the Cheyenne Hub in Weld Country, Colorado.

The Trans-Mediterranean

The Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) is a 2,475 km-long natural gas pipeline built to transport natural gas from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia and Sicily.

Built in 1983, it is one of the longest international gas pipeline systems and has the capacity to deliver 30.2bcm/y (billion cubic metres per annum) of natural gas.

The Transmed pipeline begins in Algeria and runs 550 km to Tunisian border. From Tunisia the line passes 370 km to El Haouaria in the Cap Bon province and then crosses the 155 km-wide Sicilian section.

Passing through Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, the pipeline moves a further 155 km from Sicily to the Strait of Messina and 1,055 kilometres in the Italian mainland to northern Italy with a branch to Slovenia.


  • Human beings have used different methods long-distance communications of which the telegraph and the telephone were important.
  • The telegraph was instrumental in the colonisation of the American West. During the early and mid-twentieth century, the American Telegraph and Telephone Company (AT&T) enjoyed a monopoly over U.S.A.’s telephone industry. In fact, the telephone became a critical factor in the urbanisation of America.
  • Firms centralised their functioning at city headquarters and located their branch offices in smaller towns. Even today, the telephone is the most commonly used mode. In developing countries, the use of cell phones, made possible by satellites, is important for rural connectivity.
  • Today there is a phenomenal pace of development. The first major breakthrough is the use of optic fiber cables (OFC). Faced with mounting competition, telephone companies all over the world soon upgraded their copper cable
  • systems to include optic fiber cables. These allow large quantities of data to be transmitted
  • rapidly, securely, and are virtually error-free.
  • With the digitisation of information in the 1990s, telecommunication slowly merged with computers to form integrated networks termed as Internet.



International Trade –
Types of International Trade
World Trade Organization
Regional Trade Blocs

  • International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.
  • In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • While international trade has existed throughout history (for example Uttarapatha, Silk Road, Amber Road, scramble for Africa, Atlantic slave trade, salt roads), its economic, social, and political importance has been on the rise in recent centuries.
  • The initial form of trade in primitive societies was the barter system, where direct exchange of goods took place.

International Trade – Introduction

International Trade – Important aspects

International trade has three very important aspects. These are volume, sectoral composition and direction of trade.

Volume of Trade

The actual tonnage of goods traded makes up the volume. However, services traded cannot be measured in tonnage. Therefore, the total value of goods and services traded is considered to be the volume of trade.

Annual % change

Composition of Trade

The nature of goods and services imported and exported by countries have undergone changes during the last century.

Direction of Trade

Historically, the developing countries of the present used to export valuable goods and

artefacts, etc., which were exported to European

countries.During the nineteenth century there was a reversal in the direction of trade.

European countries started exporting manufactured goods for exchange of foodstuffs

and raw materials from their colonies. Europe and U.S.A. emerged as major trade partners in the world and were leaders in the trade of manufactured goods.

Balance of Trade

The balance of trade, commercial balance, or net exports is the difference between the monetary value of a nation’s exports and imports over a certain period. Sometimes a distinction is made between a balance of trade for goods versus one for services. The balance of trade measures a flow of exports and imports over a given period of time. The notion of the balance of trade does not mean that exports and imports are “in balance” with each other.

If a country exports a greater value than it imports, it has a trade surplus or positive trade balance, and conversely, if a country imports a greater value than it exports, it has a trade deficit or negative trade balance. As of 2016, about 60 out of 200 countries have a trade surplus.

India has a trade deficit and the average balance of trade was US$ -2314.14 million from 1957 to 2017.




(US$ billion)

Share (%)


Refined Petroleum




Gems, precious metals, coins








Machines, engines, pumps




Organic chemicals












Iron and steel











The top 10 commodity exports in 2014 were as follows:



Value (US$ billion)

Share (%)






Gems, precious metals, coins








Machines, engines, pumps




Organic chemicals








Iron and steel




Animal/vegetable fats and oils




Ores, slag and ash




Medical and technical equipment



The top 10 commodity imports in 2014 were as follows:






Trade Deficit













































India Foreign Trade(in billion $)

































Factors that can affect the balance of trade include:

  • The cost of production (land, labour, capital, taxes, incentives, etc.) in the exporting economy vis-à-vis those in the importing economy;
  • The cost and availability of raw materials, intermediate goods, and other inputs;
  • Exchange rate movements;
  • Multilateral, bilateral and unilateral taxes or restrictions on trade;
  • Non-tariff barriers such as environmental, health or safety standards;
  • The availability of adequate foreign exchange with which to pay for imports; and
  • Prices of goods manufactured at home (influenced by the responsiveness of supply

Balance 1980–2008 based on International Monetary Fund data.

Cumulative current account balance per capita 1980–2008 based on International Monetary Fund data.

Types of International Trade

Types of International Trade

International trade may be categorised into two types:

(a) Bilateral trade

A bilateral trade is the exchange of goods between two nations promoting trade and investment. The two countries will reduce or eliminate tariffs, import quotas, export restraints, and other trade barriers to encourage trade and investment.

(b) Multilateral trade

Multilateral trade agreements are commerce treaties between three or more nations. The agreements reduce tariffs and make it easier for businesses to import and export. Since they are among many countries, they are difficult to negotiate.

World Trade Organisation

World Trade Organisation

    • Officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948
    • An organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade
    • HQ – Geneva, Switzerland
    • Official language – English, French, Spanish

Evolution of WTO

1944 Bretton Woods conference wanted to make ITO (International Trade Org.) but USA did not ratify. Thus, GATT was born as a stopgap arrangement


GATT (General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs) established aimed to reduce barriers to international trade


Uruguay Round of Talks

Service & Intellectual Property rights related topics included in the debate, 1993, everyone agreed on it


Marrakesh treaty under Uruguay round of talks at Morocco

All nations signed on agreement & WTO was established on Jan 1, 1995

India → Founding member of WTO

All countries want to protect domestic industries and prevent entry of foreign players. So, they create two types of barriers to International trade viz.

Tariff Barriers → When Govt. puts heavy import duty / custom duty on Foreign Products which protects domestic players from competition from foreign players

Non Tariff barriers → When Domestic players are given subsidies / preference over the foreign players by Govt. for Ex.

When Govt. is buying some Phones/ Xerox Machines, in the tender it’ll mention that only Domestic companies are allowed.

Making policies in a way that it’s hard for foreign player to start factory / introduce his product in India.

Key Functions of WTO

  • Reduce above stated barriers to international trade – both tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers & Get the members enter into multilateral trade agreements.
  • Provide forum for negotiation & dispute settlement for members, if agreements are violated.
  • Ensure the developing countries benefit from world trade, especially the least Developed countries
  • Cooperate with UN, World and IMF for a global economic policy that improves livelihood, protects environment and promotes sustainable Development.

Regional Trade Blocs

Regional Trade Blocs

A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and others) are reduced or eliminated among the participating states.

Trade blocs can be stand-alone agreements between several states (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement) or part of a regional organization (such as the European Union). Depending on the level of economic integration, trade blocs can be classified as preferential trading areas, free-trade areas, customs unions, common markets, or economic and monetary unions.


Many countries group together for different reasons;

  • TRADE – There are several trading blocs, such as the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association), the African Union (AU), OPEC and the European Union
  • GLOBAL GOVERNANCE (economic)– such as other ECONOMIC groupings include the World Bank (An international organisation dedicated to providing financing, advice and research to developing nations to aid their economic development), IMF (International Monetary Fund who…) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) who try to organise and make trade free.
  • GLOBAL GOVERNANCE (SOCIAL) – There are global organisations of countries too, including the United Nations who have a huge role to play in organising the countries of the world to combat environmental issues such as Global Warming, tackle poverty through the UNDP, and ensure safety of people in conflicts through the use of the UN’s peace keeping force.
  • DEFENCE – There are defence groupings such as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
  • SOCIAL, POLITICAL and ECONOMIC unions – the European Union is a great example of this, where various aspects of politics, law, society and the economy of member states are governed by the group of nations.


A trading bloc is defined by four characteristics:

1. There is a special trade relationship that promotes and allows trade within that group of countries in preference to trade with outside nations by discriminating against non-members (through import tariffs for example)

2. It has the goal of trade liberalisation or integration with the aim of establishing a free trade area, customs union, or common market

3. It strives to reach common positions in negotiations with third countries, with other trade blocs, or in multilateral forums

4. It attempts to coordinate national economic policies to minimize disruption to intra-bloc economic transaction

Key Features

  • Free Trade Areas – A free trade area is a grouping of countries within which tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers between the members are generally abolished but with no common trade policy toward non-members. The North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are examples of free trade areas.
  • Customs Unions – a group of states that have agreed to charge the same import duties as each other and usually to allow free trade between themselves.
  • Common Markets – a group of countries imposing few or no duties on trade with one another and a common tariff on trade with other countries (this last bit is the difference between a custom union and a common market).
  • Economic Unions – An economic union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a common market with a customs union. The participant countries have both common policies on product regulation, freedom of movement of goods, services and the factors of production (capital and labour) and a common external trade policy.

Regional Trade Blocs

  • NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – came into place in 1994 to ensure free trade between the USA, Canada and Mexico. Over the first 20 years of its existed it resulted in a 400% increase in trade between member states, included developed and developing countries and created a market of 460million consumers. (Source)
  • EU – the European Union
  • EEC – European Economic Community created by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, renamed as the European Community in 1993
  • GATT – the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was signed in 1948 with the aim of reducing tariffs or import duties between countries and to have a forum for discussing the problems of international trade. It was replaced in 1995 by the WTO or World Trade Organisation
  • WTO – the World Trade Organisation
  • BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China – a group of 4 countries identified by Jim O’Neil from Goldman Sacs as upcoming major global economic powers in 2001.
  • MINT – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – the next batch of potential economic giants identified again by Jim O’Neil in 2014.
  • G8 – The “Group of 8” most powerful countries in the world, which includes France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. Russia was suspended in 2014. It is a government panel which in 2012 controlled 40.9% of global GDP (PPP) in 2011 (source)
  • G20 – The Group of Twenty (also known as the G-20 or G20) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. The members, shown highlighted on the map at right, include 19 individual countries—Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States—along with the European Union (EU). The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.
  • G77 – Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. The G77 aim to promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues (within the United Nations system).
  • World Bank – created at the end of World War II, because many European and Asian countries needed financing to fund reconstruction efforts. It was created at the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944. Today, it is an international organisation that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle and poor-income countries. By giving loans, and offering advice and training in both the private and public sectors, the World Bank aims to eliminate poverty by helping people help themselves (World Bank website)
  • IMF – an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.


Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. As a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, globalization is considered by some as a form of capitalist expansion which entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market economy.


One index of globalization is the KOF Index of Globalization, which measures three important dimensions of globalization: economic, social, and political.