Italy Transport and Communications

In the last decade, a rapid increase has been in car transport both in terms of goods and passengers. The quantity of goods transported by rail increased in the same period (18 million t / km), while passenger traffic using this vehicle tends to stabilize at around 32 million travelers per km per year.

Air transport has also developed considerably at an intense pace, while passenger sea transport is decreasing, especially on long journeys. The transport of goods by sea is extremely variable depending on the international situation (see table 10).

A great contribution to the evolution of the Italian economy was made by the construction of a modern and efficient network of highways. The construction of the Autostrada del Sole that goes from Milan to Reggio Calabria (km 1250), undertaken after 1955, has contributed to breaking the isolation of many areas of the South and constitutes the main artery of the peninsula. After the Autostrada del Sole many other highways have been built and currently (1977) the Italian motorway system has a length of 5529.3 km; just under 1300 km are under construction or planned. The fundamental axes of this network are constituted, next to the Autostrada del Sole, from the Milan-Genoa (Autostrada dei Fiori) with branches to Ventimiglia and Livorno, from the Milan-Turin, from Milan-Venice (which in the Brescia-Venice section takes the name of Serenissima), from Milan-Rimini with continuation to Canosa di Puglia. A very important function is played by the Rome-Avezzano-L’Aquila and Naples-Bari motorways (for other businesses, seehighways). A series of highways has already been built or is under construction to connect the main roads. Among them it is worth mentioning the Empoli-Siena, the Basentana, between the Piana del Sele and Metaponto and the one that branches off from Catania to Syracuse and Gela.

Commerce. – The role of the commercial sector is prominent in Italy both for the number of employees and for the value of the contribution it gives to the national income. The numerical data of employment in this sector, compared with those of the local units, together testify the social importance of the sector and the extreme division of the business units. The splitting up of commercial activities and the multiplicity of phases of transition from production to consumption are the fundamental cause of the heaviness of the Italian distribution apparatus which negatively affects the trend in consumer prices.

In Italy there is no shortage of the most modern retail sales organizations (department stores-supermarkets); these, however, are at a less advanced stage than in other countries while small businesses, including itinerant ones, are still very widespread, especially in the South. On the other hand, the volume of direct sales by manufacturing industries is growing at a sustained pace and their influence on the market is being felt more strongly through the imposition of predetermined prices.

Italian foreign trade has been characterized in recent decades by a constant increase thanks above all to the progressive industrialization of the country. Although stationed at not very high international levels, our foreign trade is characterized by the breadth of its range. In fact, if relations with European countries have a pre-eminent weight (65% of which 45% with the states of the Common Market), the other currents that are directed above all towards the United States (11%), from which we generally receive finished products, and the countries of the Near East (5%) and North Africa (6%) from which we import increasing quantities of crude oil. The high impact of the European common market depends on the commercial policy of the states that are part of it, which has had significant repercussions on Italian commercial exchanges; in particular, the renewed agricultural program, with the removal of customs tariffs and with the preferential treatment reserved for associated states, tends to protect the products of member countries and discourage imports from other countries, significantly contributing to increasing trade in the community area.

In the commercial movement, the import of certain products (livestock) and of the extractive industry (petroleum) and the export of numerous goods of the manufacturing industry, among which the products of the mechanical industry prevail; the latter, however, have a rather substantial weight also on the total of imported goods. In addition to those mentioned, numerous other products are of some interest and in particular iron and steel, hard coal, minerals, fish, wood, rubber, cocoa, coffee, textiles. The Federal Republic of Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are generally the states with which the Italy maintains the most intense commercial relations.

Italy Transport