The Journal of Commerce Inc., a subsidiary of Miami-based Knight-Ridder Inc., said Monday it agreed to purchase Traffic World magazine from International Thomson Transport Press Inc.

Traffic World, an 83-year-old weekly magazine headquartered in Washington, D.C., provides news and analysis of the domestic transportation industry and has 10,000 paid subscribers.The New York-based Journal of Commerce Inc. publishes a 162-year-old daily newspaper specializing in international trade and transportation.

Terms of the acquisition, subject to approval by Knight-Ridder directors at their regular meeting March 22, weren't disclosed.

"We are pleased at the prospect of owning a respected publication with a strong hold on its readers," said Don C. Becker, publisher and president of The Journal of Commerce. "Single ownership of Traffic World and The Journal of Commerce should lead to editorial and financial improvements at each publication."

Mr. Becker will be publisher of the newly acquired magazine.

Stanford Erickson, Journal of Commerce general manager, will be Traffic World's president. Howard S. Abramson, currently deputy chief of the newspaper's Washington, D.C., bureau, will move over to the magazine as its editor. Traffic World's advertising sales director, Robert L. Hulsman, will continue in that capacity.

Mr. Abramson said: "Traffic World has long been a vital tool for shippers and carriers. Its emphasis on domestic freight and transportation markets has made it especially influential in a turbulent era of deregulation."

The Journal of Commerce Inc. is part of Knight-Ridder's Business Information Services division.

In addition to the daily Journal of Commerce newspaper, the company publishes fortnightly international editions in Singapore and Zurich, Switzerland, and a Chinese-language edition in Beijing. Worldwide readership totals more than 217,000.

Additionally, the company publishes several directories and weekly import and export bulletins.

Its two database subsidiaries, Transax/RATES and PIERS, provide electronic information services to the maritime and international trade communities.

International Thomson Transport Press Inc. is an affiliated company of the Thomson Information/Publishing Group, Stamford, Conn.