Trade patterns and transport markets are changing as a result of the growth and globalization of international trade, and forecasting future freight flow has to rely on trade forecasts. Forecasting freight flows is critical for matching infrastructure supply to demand and for assessing investment. This article models long-term dynamic physical trade flows and estimates a dynamic panel data model for foreign trade for the EU15 and two countries from the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) 1967–2002. The analysis suggests that a dynamic three-way-effects gravity equation is the best-fitted econometric model. The analysis uses a structural relationship to explain the structure of the exchange of the goods—a relationship that can be used in the year of forecast. This article also provides a new methodology for converting monetary aggregates into quantity aggregates. The resulting commodity growth rates constitute a valuable input to freight models for forecasting future capacity problems.
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