Inland waterways freight transport - quarterly and annual data
- Data extracted in July 2016, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: September 2017.
This article presents the main results from annual and quarterly statistics on inland waterways goods transport in the European Union (EU) in 2015. The article is based on both quarterly and annual data, for total and container transport, while data on the type of transport, type of goods, type of vessels and dangerous goods are only shown on a yearly basis.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 1.1 Inland waterways transport of goods reached its lowest point in the 4th quarter 2015 since the crisis in 2009
- 1.2 Container transport reached a peak in the 1st quarter of 2015
- 1.3 ‘Metal ores’ is the largest individual goods category transported
- 1.4 Self-propelled barges accounted for more than half of total EU transport performance in 2015
- 1.5 ‘Flammable liquids’ is the most transported dangerous goods category in EU inland waterways
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
Main statistical findings
Inland waterways transport of goods reached its lowest point in the 4th quarter 2015 since the crisis in 2009
Following the economic crisis in 2008, activity in Inland Waterways transport has been very volatile. Measured in tkm, activity fell by 15% in 2009, but rebounded sharply in 2010 by 18%. However, the industry failed to sustain this improvement in 2011 and fell back again by 7% before a further 6% recovery in 2012, followed by an increase of 2% in 2013 and again a decline of 1% in 2014. The fall continues in 2015 with a 3% decline in national and transit transports and 2% in international transport, leading to an overall decrease of 2% at the total level. The trend is similar in terms of tonnes with a decrease of 2% for national, 1% for international transport and 1% at the total level.
At quarterly level, the movements are even more erratic. The fall between the peak in Q2 2008 and the trough in Q1 2009 was 20% with a subsequent 26% recovery to Q3 2010. There followed a fall of 15% to Q4 2011 with a rise to the end of the year in Q4 2012 of 10%. A peak was reached in the 4th quarter 2013 at around 38 billion tkm, the highest quarterly level recorded so far. During 2014, there were falls of 8% and 2% in the first and second quarters, respectively, followed by a 6% recovery to the levels found in the last semester of 2014. In the 1st half of 2015, the transport performance remained stable with a 2% increase in the 1st quarter and a 2% decline in the 2nd quarter. The second half of 2015 showed a sharp fall of 11% in the 3rd quarter and a 2% decrease in the 4th quarter.
The main contributors to the EU inland waterways transport performance (in tkm) are by far Germany and the Netherlands. These two countries between them accounted for more than 70% of the EU inland waterways transport performance in 2015. In terms of tonnes, Belgium joins the leading group, with a 20% of the total EU transport of goods in 2015, compared with its 7% share of tkm. However, it remains behind the Netherlands with a share of 39% of the total and Germany at 24%. In 10 Member States, the transport performance (in tkm) has decreased in 2015. The largest decrease was observed by Poland with 20%, followed by Slovakia with 18%, Luxembourg and Austria with 17% and Lithuania with 14%. The decrease observed by Germany is the one impacting the most the EU levels with a loss of almost 4 billion tkm in 2015 compared with 2014. In contrast, the Czech Republic and Croatia registered the largest increases in 2015 of 24% and 23%, respectively.
When looking at the transport of goods in tonnes, the picture is similar. Indeed, nine Member States recorded decreases. The largest falls in 2015 were observed in Slovakia (-18%), Luxembourg, Austria and Poland (-15% for all three) and the highest rises in Lithuania (+44%) and Croatia (+24%).
National transport in tkm decreased in 2015 for all countries except for Czech Republic (+62%) and the Netherlands (+3%). In terms of tonnes, five Member States registered an increase in national transport; the highest being observed for Lithuania (+44%).
Container transport reached a peak in the 1st quarter of 2015
EU freight container transport performance, measured in TEU-Km, declined sharply through 2008 before stabilising at this new lower level in 2009.Thereafter, following a strong recovery in 2010, a sustained upward trend is observable in every year. A peak was reached in the 1st quarter of 2015, substantially above the levels recorded prior to the crisis in 2008. The level in the 1st quarter of 2015 was 25% above that recorded in the 2nd quarter 2007.
A seasonal pattern can be observed with falls in the fourth quarter of each year followed by an increase of the first quarter of the next year. Compared with 2014, EU freight container transport performance in TEU-km dropped by 6% in 2015 for loaded but rose by 9% for empty containers giving a 1% decline in total. In 2015, loaded containers accounted for around two thirds of the total container transport performance. The largest contribution came from the Netherlands, closely followed by Germany. The two countries together accounted for almost 90% of the EU container transport performance. With the exception of Luxembourg and Belgium, all countries showed a decrease in container transport performance in 2015 compared to the previous year. Only Luxembourg increased strongly their container performance for both loaded and empty containers. For Belgium, a substantial rise in empty container transport was accompanied by a large fall in loaded container transport performance.
‘Metal ores’ is the largest individual goods category transported
At EU level, the main types of goods (according to NST2007) transported in 2015 are ‘metal ores’, ‘coke and refined petroleum’ and ‘products of agriculture’ as in 2014. Compared with 2014, while the shares of ‘metal ores’ and ‘coal and crude petroleum’ in total transport performance decreased by 0.1 and 0.7 percentage point, respectively, the shares of ‘coke and refined petroleum products’ and ‘products of agriculture’ rose by 0.2 and 1.1 percentage points, respectively. In terms of tkm, the top-three products accounted for more than half of all goods transport on EU inland waterways in 2015.
Self-propelled barges accounted for more than half of total EU transport performance in 2015
In 2015, the ‘self-propelled barge’ was the predominant type of vessel used for goods transport on EU inland waterways, carrying more than half of total EU transport of goods. The volume of goods transported with ‘self-propelled barge’ declined slightly by 5% compared with 2014. The second most used type of vessel is ‘barge not self-propelled’, a category that recorded a rise of 3% in 2015 compared with 2014. These two vessel categories accounted for the largest volumes transported for all Member States with the exception of Luxembourg and Slovakia. These two types of vessel combined plus the category ‘self-propelled tanker barges’ accounted for over 89% for eleven countries out of 13. The two exceptions to these very high levels are Slovakia and France, which record substantial levels of ‘other goods carrying vessels’ (68% and 29%, respectively).
‘Flammable liquids’ is the most transported dangerous goods category in EU inland waterways
Transport by dangerous goods is the subject of a voluntary data collection. Only seven countries out of 13 were able to report data in 2015. Among these, the Netherlands was the only major country within inland waterways freight transport able to provide figures. While this means that it is difficult to paint a comprehensive picture at the EU level, it can be observed that ‘Flammable liquids’ is the main category of dangerous goods transported in all the countries reporting these data. Overall, “Flammable liquids” accounted for almost 75% of reported total dangerous goods transport. The Czech Republic, Croatia and Poland reported no or very little transport of dangerous goods in 2015.
Data sources and availability
All figures presented in this article have been extracted from the Eurostat online inland waterways transport database. The related datasets are collected according to the Regulation 1365/2006 on statistics of goods transport by inland waterways implemented by the Regulation 425/2007 and amended by the Regulation 1304/2007.
Fourteen Member States are obliged to deliver data: Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), Czech Republic (CZ), Germany (DE), France (FR), Croatia (HR), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Romania (RO), Slovakia (SK) and the United Kingdom (UK). Following the requirements of Regulation 1365/2006 (article 2, point 3), the United Kingdom is delivering only the reduced annual dataset E1 (annex E of the Regulation 1365/2006).
On a voluntary basis, Italy (IT), Lithuania (LT) and Finland (FI) provide the reduced dataset E1 (annex E of the Regulation 1365/2006).
- When presenting quarterly data (Figures 1, 2 and Tables 1, 2), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
- When presenting annual transport of goods (Tables 3, 4 and Figures 3 and 4), EU-28 includes data for all Member States providing data.
- When presenting annual container data (Figure 2 and Table 5), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
- When presenting annual data by type of vessel (Figures 5 and 6), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
Calculation of EU aggregates: In Table 4, the EU-28 international and total goods transport in tonnes is calculated excluding double counting. The EU-28 total international transport is calculated by adding the international loadings plus the international unloading for which the loading country is not in the EU-28. Then, the EU-28 total transport is calculated by adding the national transport and the total international transport.
National inland waterways transport: Inland waterways transport between two ports of a national territory irrespective of the nationality of vessel.
International inland waterways transport: Inland waterways transport between two ports located in different national territories.
Inland waterways transit: Inland waterways transport through a national territory between two ports both located in another national territory or national territories provided that in the total journey within the national territory there is no transshipment.
Country specific notes
Belgium: 2011 data are provisional.
Bulgaria: Annual transit transport is available from 2008 but in 2009 the country implemented a new methodology for the collection of this kind of traffic. Quarterly transit transport is available from 2010. Transit data supplied include Romanian national IWW transport data equivalent to Bulgarian transit transport.
Croatia: Quarterly transit transport is not available. Annual transit transport is available starting from 2008.
Italy: No data available for 2015. Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Lithuania: No data available for 2015. Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Hungary: Due to a methodological change, transit data are underestimated for the 3rd quarter 2013 and are not comparable with the other quarters.
Netherlands: Due to a methodological change, data on containers are underestimated in 2009 and cannot be compared with other years.
Romania: From 2009 (annual data) and 2010 (quarterly data) the country has implemented a new methodology for the collection of transit data. Transit data supplied include Bulgarian national IWW transport data equivalent to Romanian transit transport.
Finland: No data available for 2015. Data are delivered on voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
United Kingdom: 2015 data are provisional. Following the requirements of Regulation No 1365/2006 (article 2 point 3), a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Breakdown by group of goods
The NST 2007 classification is available on RAMON.
- ":" not available
- "-" not applicable or real zero
- "0" less than half of the unit used and thus rounded to zero
The content of this statistical article is based on data collected within the framework of the Regulation 1365/2006 on statistics of goods transport by inland waterways implemented by the Regulation 425/2007 and amended by the Regulation 1304/2007.
Further Eurostat information
- All transport publications on line
- Energy, transport and environment indicators - 2014 edition
- Illustrated Glossary for Transport Statistics - 4th edition
- Transport, see:
- Inland waterways transport (t_iww)
- Goods transport by inland waterways (ttr00007)
- Transport, see:
- Inland waterways transport (iww)
- Inland waterways transport infrastructure (iww_if)
- Inland waterways transport equipment (iww_eq)
- Inland waterways transport - Enterprises, economic performances and employment (iww_ec)
- Inland waterways transport measurement - goods (iww_go)
- Inland waterways - accidents (iww_ac)
Methodology / Metadata
- Inland waterways transport measurement - goods (ESMS metadata file — iww_esms)
- All transport publications online
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)