Transportation and storage statistics - NACE Rev. 2

Data from August 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: October 2017

This article presents an overview of statistics for the European Union’s (EU) transportation and storage services sector, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Section H. It belongs to a set of statistical articles on 'Business economy by sector' .

The transportation and storage services sector focuses on transport services provided to clients for hire and reward. When analysing transport traffic volumes (for example, tonnes of freight) it is important to bear in mind that these include own account transport as well as transport services for hire and reward. This is particularly important in road transport where, for example, a manufacturer might collect materials or deliver own output, rather than contracting a transport service enterprise to do this and equally, the use of own vehicles (typically passenger cars) accounts for a very large part of passenger transport. Such own account transport does not contribute towards the statistics on the transportation and storage services sector.

Table 1: Key indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 1: Sectoral analysis of transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 (¹)
(% share of sectoral total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 2a: Sectoral analysis of key indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 2b: Sectoral analysis of key indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 2: Relative importance of transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013
(% share of value added and employment in the non-financial business economy total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 3: Concentration of value added and employment, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013
(cumulative share of the five principal Member States as a % of the EU-28 total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 3: Largest and most specialised Member States in transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 4a: Key indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 4b: Key indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 5: Key size class indicators, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 4: Relative importance of enterprise size classes, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013
(% share of sectoral total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 5: Sectoral analysis of employment by enterprise size class, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013
(% share of sectoral employment) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 6: Sectoral analysis of value added by enterprise size class, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28, 2013
(% share of sectoral value added) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Table 6a: Number of persons employed by enterprise size class, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Table 6b: Value added by enterprise size class, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), 2013 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 7: Ten largest NUTS 2 regions in terms of employment, transportation and storage (NACE Section H), EU-28 and Norway, 2013
(thousands) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

There were more than 1.1 million enterprises in the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector in 2013, equivalent to 5.0 % of the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) enterprise population. These enterprises employed 10.5 million persons and recorded value added of EUR 499.5 billion, which represented 7.9 % of those working in the non-financial business economy and 8 % of the wealth generated in the non-financial business economy. The relatively low share of transportation and storage services in the non-financial business economy enterprise population indicates that the average size of enterprises in the transportation and storage services sector (in value added or employment terms) was above average; indeed, this sector includes some activities which are dominated by very large enterprises, for example, postal services, air and rail transport services.

Several indicators based on labour input show the transportation and storage services sector to be quite typical, when compared with the non-financial business economy as a whole. The apparent labour productivity of the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector in 2013 was EUR 47.0 thousand per person employed, quite close to the non-financial business economy average (EUR 46.9 thousand per person employed). Average personnel costs were EUR 33.3 thousand per employee, which was marginally higher than the non-financial business economy average (EUR 32.7 thousand per employee). The combination of these two indicators produces a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 143.0 % for the transportation and storage services sector, almost equal to the non-financial business economy average of 143.1 %.

By contrast, the gross operating rate (the relation between the gross operating surplus and turnover) for the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector was 13.3 % in 2013, which was above the non-financial business economy average (9.5 %).

Sectoral analysis

In value added terms, the largest subsector (at the division level) in the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector was that of land transport and transport via pipelines (Division 49), which accounted for more than two fifths (42.6 %) of sectorial value added in 2013, followed by warehousing and transport support activities (Division 52) which had a share of more than one third (35.5 %). Postal and courier activities (Division 53) was the only other subsector to record a double-digit share of sectorial value added (11.6 %), while air and water transport (Divisions 50 and 51) were the smallest subsectors with 5.6 % and 4.6 % shares respectively.

The land transport and transport via pipelines subsector had a notably larger share of employment (than value added), as it employed more than half (52.4 %) of the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector’s workforce in 2013, while the warehousing and support activities subsector also accounted for a larger share of the sectorial employment (25.1 %). The three other subsectors accounted for smaller shares of the transportation and storage services sector’s workforce, most notably the water transport subsector (2.0 %).

Consequently, the subsectors recorded quite different levels of apparent labour productivity in 2013. The water transport subsector recorded the highest apparent labour productivity among the five divisions, with an average of EUR 112 thousand per person employed across the EU-28 which was almost 50 % higher than the corresponding level recorded for air transport and almost 60 % higher than the level for warehousing and support activities for transportation (where the second and third highest levels of apparent labour productivity were posted). The two remaining subsectors, namely, land transport and transport via pipelines and postal and courier activities recorded much lower levels of apparent labour productivity, well below the non-financial business economy average (EUR 46.9 thousand per person employed).

Average personnel costs rose as high as EUR 68.9 thousand per employee in 2013 for the EU-28’s air transport subsector, more than double the non-financial business economy average (EUR 32.7 thousand per employee). As for apparent labour productivity, substantially lower average personnel costs were recorded for land transport and transport via pipelines (EUR 29.4 thousand per employee) and for postal and courier activities (EUR 28.6 thousand per employee), and as such both of these subsectors had average personnel costs that were below the non-financial business economy average (EUR 32.7 thousand per employee).

As a consequence of its very high apparent labour productivity, the EU-28’s water transport subsector recorded the highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio among the five transportation and storage services subsectors in 2013, with apparent labour productivity equivalent to 200.0 % of average personnel costs. Warehousing and support activities was the only other transportation and storage services subsector to record a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio (181.0 %) above the non-financial business economy average (143.1 %). The extremely high average personnel costs recorded within the air transport subsector resulted in one of the lowest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio (116.0 %) among the five subsectors, slightly higher than for postal and courier activities (112.0 %).

The air transport subsector also recorded the lowest gross operating rate among the five NACE divisions within the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector, as the gross operating surplus represented just 3.0 % of the turnover in 2013. Postal and courier activities recorded a gross operating rate (7.2 %) that was almost in line with the non-financial business economy average (9.5 %). The gross operating rates for two other subsectors were above the non-financial business economy average, reaching 17.0 % for warehousing and support activities for transportation and 14.1 % for land transport and transport via pipelines.

Country analysis

Both Germany and the United Kingdom had the highest levels of value added among the Member States in two out of the five transportation and storage services subsectors that are shown in Table 3. Germany’s share of EU-28 added value peaked for the water transport subsector at 31 %. There was also a relatively high degree of concentration within the air transport subsector, where the United Kingdom had the highest share (24.9 %) of EU-28 value added. By contrast, the distribution of value added within the land transport and transport via pipelines subsector was spread more widely across a higher number of EU Member States — with France recording the largest share (18.1 %).

The Baltic Member States were particularly specialised in the transportation and storage services sector in value added terms, as Latvia (15.5 %, 7.7 %) and Lithuania (9.2 %) generated far greater shares of their non-financial business economy value added in this sector in 2013 than did any other EU Member State. The least specialised Member States were Luxembourg, Germany, Czech Republic and Sweden where the transportation and storage services sector accounted for less than 7.0 % of non-financial business economy value added.

Lithuania and Latvia reported the highest degrees of specialisation for the land transport and transport via pipelines subsector, while Latvia and Estonia had the highest specialisations in the warehousing and transport support activities subsector. Denmark was the most specialised EU Member State in the water transport subsector, with 2.4 % of its non-financial business economy value added coming from this subsector, far ahead of the 1.2 % share in Greece which was the next highest. However, the highest specialisation in water transport services records Norway, non-member country (3.1 % of non-financial business economy value added in this sector). Portugal was by far the most specialised Member State in the air transport subsector (1.6 % of non-financial business economy value added) all other countries produced less than 1.0 % of their non-financial business economy value added in this subsector.

A majority of EU Member States had a lower wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio for the transportation and storage services sector than they had for the non-financial business economy as a whole, most notably Luxembourg where the 126.4 % ratio for this sector was 36.2 percentage points below the Luxembourgish non-financial business economy average. At the other end of the scale, Estonia recorded a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 212.4 % for transportation and storage services which was the highest among the EU Member States and was 37.3 percentage points above the Estonian non-financial business economy average.

Size class analysis

The enterprise size structure of the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector would appear to be dominated by large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) — just over half (54.5 %) of the value added in 2013 was generated by some 3 400 large enterprises and these employed 47.6 % of the workforce. As for the non-financial business economy as a whole, the apparent labour productivity of large enterprises in the EU-28’s transportation and storage services sector (EUR 54.3 thousand per person employed in 2013) was greater than for any of the other size classes shown in Table 5.

Large enterprises contributed by far the greatest share of value added and employment within the EU-28’s air transport and postal and courier activities subsectors. The value added share of large enterprises (39.9 %) in the EU-28’s water transport sector was an average between the relatively high shares for sea and coastal water transport and the low shares for inland water transport

Among the EU Member States, the relative importance of large enterprises was greatest in France and the United Kingdom, where these enterprises accounted for close to two thirds of sectorial value added in 2013; this was also the case in Switzerland. In four other EU Member States, large enterprises generated at least half of the value added in the transportation and storage services sector. Medium-sized enterprises (employing 50 to 249 persons) generated one third (31.8 %) of sectorial value added in Luxembourg, by far the highest share for this size class. Micro and small enterprises generated more than 50 % of sectorial value added in Greece, Spain and Slovenia; the highest share of micro enterprises in sectorial value added was observed in Greece where micro enterprises alone generated more than 69 % of sectorial value added.

Regional analysis

The French capital city region of the Île de France recorded by far the highest number of persons employed in 2013 in the transportation and storage services sector, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-28. This sector employed just less than three quarters of a million persons in the Île de France, far ahead of the 297.8 thousand persons in the region of Köln, where the second highest number of persons employed was recorded. The top 20 list for those regions with the highest levels of employment was spread across a large part of the EU, with a total of ten different Member States having at least one region in the list. With five regions, Italy was most often represented in the list, followed by Germany and Spain with three regions; there were two regions each from France and the Netherlands, as well as one each from Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and the United Kingdom. Among the ten EU Member States with at least one region in the top 20 the only one whose capital city region did not figure in the top 20 regions was Germany: the German capital city region of Berlin had only the 30th largest transportation and storage services workforce among the EU regions. As well as capital city regions, the top 20 regions contained many other regions with major cities such as those regions containing Düsseldorf, Cologne, Madrid, Lyon, Milan, Venice, Bologna or Rotterdam. The top 20 regions together accounted for 30.9 % of the EU-28’s transportation and storage services workforce.

The relative importance of the transportation and storage services sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the non-financial business economy workforce. Among the 193 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2013, the median share of the transportation and storage services sector in the non-financial business economy workforce was 7.3 %. Employment within the transportation and storage services sector was very widespread, with very few regions being particularly unspecialised in this activity. By contrast, a small number of regions were quite strongly specialised, notably the capital city regions of Slovakia (Bratislavský kraj), United Kingdom (Outer London), France (Île de France), Italy (Liguria), Latvia and Lithuania — the two latter being just one region at NUTS level 2 per country. In each of these regions, transportation and storage services accounted for 12.0 % or more of non-financial business economy employment. Several other capital city regions recorded relatively high employment shares for transportation and storage services, including Dytiki Makedonia in Greece (11.6 %, 7th highest), Helsinki in Finland (10.2 %, 17th) and Estonia (9.6 %, 23rd). The transportation and storage services sector accounted for less than 4.0 % of non-financial business economy employment in the Portuguese region Norte. The lowest share for any capital city region (among those for which data are available) was 3.1 % for Inner London in the United Kingdom.

Data sources and availability

Coverage

Transportation services concern passenger and freight transport, whether scheduled or not, regardless of the transport mode, and also include postal and courier services. Furthermore, the transportation and storage services sector covers warehousing and storage, alongside transport support activities such as terminal and parking facilities (bus and train stations, harbours, airfields, car parks), infrastructure operations (such as rail networks, waterway locks, roads, bridges, tunnels, air traffic control), support services (towing, shunting, berthing, pilotage), cargo handling and freight forwarding.

The sector is mainly structured according to the different modes of transport, and contains five different NACE divisions, as follows:

  • land transport by rail, road and pipeline (Division 49);
  • sea and coastal water transport and inland water transport of freight and passengers (Division 50);
  • passenger air transport, as well as freight air transport and space transport (Division 51);
  • warehousing and support activities for transportation (Division 52);
  • postal and courier activities (Division 53).

The transportation and storage services sector does not include the major repair or alteration of transport equipment which is part of repair activities within the manufacturing sector (Section C), nor the construction, maintenance and repair of transport networks (such as roads and railways) or terminals (such as harbours and airfields) which is part of the construction sector (Section F). Travel agencies and tour operators are also excluded as these are covered within administrative and support service activities (Section M). Training in the operation of transport equipment is considered as an education activity, while the operation of marinas is considered part of sports activities and amusement and recreation activities (note that both of these activities lie outside the delineation of the non-financial business economy and are traditionally not covered by structural business statistics).

Data sources

The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS), size class data and regional data, all of which are published annually.

The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.

In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analysed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
    • micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
    • small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
    • medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
  • large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.

Regional SBS data are available at NUTS levels 1 and 2 for the EU Member States and Norway, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. Regional data for Croatia was not available for 2012. The main variable analysed in this article is the number of persons employed. The type of statistical unit used for regional SBS data is normally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are classified into sectors (by NACE) normally according to their own main activity, but in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs. The main SBS data series are presented at national level only, and for this national data the statistical unit is the enterprise. It is possible for the principal activity of a local unit to differ from that of the enterprise to which it belongs. Hence, national SBS data from the main series are not necessarily directly comparable with national aggregates compiled from regional SBS.

Context

EU transport policies aim to foster clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe, underpinning the internal market for goods and the right of citizens to travel freely throughout the EU. This policy is based upon a 2011 White paper — Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area — Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, which included 40 specific initiatives to build a competitive transport system and aims to increase mobility, remove major barriers in key areas, and fuel growth and employment. At the same time, the proposals endeavour to dramatically reduce the EU’s dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60 % by 2050. Key goals to be achieved by 2050 include: no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities; 40 % use of sustainable low carbon fuels in aviation; at least a 40 % cut in shipping emissions; a 50 % shift of medium distance intercity passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and/or waterborne transport.

In most EU Member States, universal service providers still operate as a monopoly and have exclusive rights within the postal market, balanced by the fact that they have a universal service obligation. Indeed, postal services are of vital importance for commercial users and households alike and are considered as a service of general economic interest. Private operators dominate the express services market, providing letter and parcel services, specifically to the business-to-business, direct mail and business-to-private segments of the market. Since the middle of the 1990’s there have been gradual developments towards market liberalisation for postal and courier services, with parcels and express services markets now fully open to competing operators. The latest amendment (2008/6) of the European Parliament and of the Council to the 1997 Directive on Community postal services was adopted in February 2008 and set out a timetable to abolish restrictions that remain for mail deliveries under 50 grams (known as the ‘reserved area’ for national operators) and open up the EU’s postal services market to full competition. The deadline for full market opening was the end of 2010 for 16 of the Member States (which represent 95 % of the internal postal market), with a transitional period until the end of 2012 for the remainder. In 2010, there was a European Commission Decision taken establishing the European Regulators Group for Postal Services , its role is to:

  • advise and assist the Commission in consolidating the internal market for postal services;
  • advise and assist the Commission on any matter related to postal services within its competence;
  • advise and assist the Commission as to the development of the internal market for postal services and as to the consistent application in all Member States of the regulatory framework for postal services;
  • consult, in agreement with the Commission, extensively and at an early stage of its expert work with market participants, consumers and end-users in an open and transparent manner.

See also

Structural business statistics introduced

More detailed analysis of transportation and storage activities:

Other analyses of the business economy by NACE Rev. 2 sector

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Database

SBS – services (sbs_serv)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics - services (sbs_na_serv)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics for services (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
SMEs - Annual enterprise statistics by size class - services (sbs_sc_sc)
Services by employment size class (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

Dedicated section

Other information

External links