Transportation and storage statistics - NACE Rev. 2
Data extracted in March 2020
Planned article update: May 2021
The transportation and storage services sector accounted for 8.1 % of the total number of persons employed in the EU in 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.
There were more than 1.1 million enterprises in the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector in 2017, equivalent to 5.2 % of the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) enterprise population. This sector employed 10.1 million persons and recorded value added of EUR 479.0 billion, which represented 8.1 % of those working in the non-financial business economy and 7.7 % 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-27’s transportation and storage services sector in 2017 was EUR 47 000 per person employed, quite close to the non-financial business economy average (EUR 49 500 per person employed). Average personnel costs were EUR 33 800 per employee, which is also quite close to the non-financial business economy average (EUR 34 700 per employee). The combination of these two indicators produces a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 140.0 % for the transportation and storage services sector, slightly lower than the non-financial business economy average of 142.7 %.
By contrast, the gross operating rate (the relation between the gross operating surplus and turnover) for the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector was 12.6 % in 2017, which was above the non-financial business economy average (10.1 %).
In value added terms, the largest subsector (at the division level) in the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector was that of land transport and transport via pipelines (Division 49), which accounted for more than two fifths (45.0 %) of sectoral value added in 2017, followed by warehousing and support activities for transportation (Division 52) and postal and courier activities (Division 53), while water transport (Division 50) was the smallest subsector with a share of 5.0 %.
The land transport and transport via pipelines subsector had a notably larger share of employment (than value added), as it employed more than half (54.8 %) of the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector’s employment in 2017, while the warehousing and support activities for transportation also accounted for a larger share of the sectoral employment (24.6 %). The remaining subsectors accounted for a smaller share (one quarter) of the transportation and storage services sector’s employment, with water transport subsector having the smallest share (2.0 %).
Consequently, the subsectors recorded quite different levels of apparent labour productivity in 2017. The water and air transport subsectors recorded the highest apparent labour productivity with EUR 112 000 per person employed and EUR 107 000 per person employed respectively, more than double the average for the transportation and storage sector (EUR 47 000 per person employed) and non-financial business economy average (EUR 49 500 per person employed).
Average personnel costs rose as high as EUR 74 200 per employee in 2017 for the EU-27’s air transport subsector, more than double the sectors average (EUR 33 800 per employee) and highest within all of the subsectors in the non-financial business economy.
As with apparent labour productivity, substantially lower average personnel costs were also recorded for postal and courier activities (EUR 27 500 per employee) and for land transport and transport via pipelines (EUR 30 400 per employee), and as such both of these subsectors had average personnel costs that were below the non-financial business economy average.
The EU-27’s water transport and warehousing and support activities for transportation subsectors recorded the highest wage-adjusted labour productivity in 2017, with apparent labour productivity equivalent to 230.0 % and 166.0 % of average personnel costs respectively. The air transport subsector (145.0 %) recorded a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio slightly above the non-financial business economy average (142.7 %) while the other two subsectors in transportation and storage services recorded lower ratios.Postal and courier activities subsector recorded the lowest gross operating rate among the five NACE divisions within the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector, as the gross operating surplus represented just 7.1 % of the turnover in 2017. The air transport subsector recorded 8.2 %, while the gross operating rates for the three other subsectors were above the non-financial business economy average (10.1 %), reaching 14.1 % for warehousing and support activities for transportation.
Germany had the highest levels of value added among the Member States in three out of the five transportation and storage services subsectors that are shown in Table 3. France's share of EU-27 added value peaked for land transport and transport via pipelines with a share of 9.9 % and the air transport subsector at 1.3 %. In the remaining three subsectors Germany had the highest levels of value added. The Baltic Member States were particularly specialised in the transportation and storage services sector in value added terms, as Lithuania (14.6 %) and Latvia (13.7 %) generated far greater shares of their non-financial business economy value added in this sector in 2017 than any other EU Member State. These countries were primarily specialised in land transport and transport via pipelines subsector. A high level of specialisation was also recorded in Cyprus where warehousing and support activities for transportation accounted for 6.9 % of non-financial business economy value added. Greece reported the highest degrees of specialisation in the air transport (2.1 %) subsector, Denmark in the water transport (2.5 %) subsector while France was the most specialized EU Member State in the postal and courier activities, with 1.1 % of its non-financial business economy value added coming from this subsector.
Thanks to its geographical position in the center of Europe, Germany recorded highest levels among the Member States in both value added (23.2 %) and employment (23.8 %). In terms of value added it was followed by the France (18.1 %) and Italy (13.0 %).
A large majority of EU Member States had a higher wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio for the transportation and storage services sector than the non-financial economy average (142.7 %). Slovenia recorded the highest ratio with 187.8 %. At the other end of the scale, Sweden recorded a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 108.8 % for transportation and storage services.
Size class analysis
The enterprise size structure of the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector would appear to be dominated by large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) — just above half (53.6 %) of the value added in 2017 was generated by some 3 400 large enterprises and these employed 45.8 % of the total persons employed in the sector. As for the non-financial business economy as a whole, the apparent labour productivity of large enterprises in the EU-27’s transportation and storage services sector (EUR 56 700 per person employed in 2017) was greater than for any of the other size classes, as shown in Table 5.
Large enterprises contributed the greatest share of value added and employment within the EU-27’s transportation and storage sector and within all of its subsectors.
Among the EU Member States, the relative significance of large enterprises was greatest in France and Luxembourg, where these enterprises accounted for 76.8 % and 60.8 % respectively of sectoral value added in 2017. In seven other EU Member States, large enterprises generated more than 50.0 % of the value added in the transportation and storage services sector. Medium-sized enterprises (employing 50 to 249 persons) generated around one third (32.4 %) of sectoral value added in Cyprus followed by Estonia with 30.7 % of sectoral value added. Micro and small enterprises generated more than 40 % of sectoral value added only in Estonia, Greece and Finland and, with the latter having the highest share of micro enterprises in sectoral value added where micro enterprises alone generated 24.8 % of sectoral value added.
The French capital city region of the Île de France recorded by far the highest number of persons employed in 2017 in the transportation and storage services sector, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-27. This sector employed 795 800 persons in the Île de France, far ahead of the 308 200 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 seven different Member States having at least one region in the list. With six regions, Germany was most often represented in the list, followed by Italy with five regions and Spain with three regions. There were two regions each from the Netherlands and Poland and two regions each from Greece and France. Among the seven 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 28th largest transportation and storage services employment 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, Köln, München, Hamburg, Barcelona, Milano or Rotterdam for example. The top 20 regions together accounted for 33.9 % of the EU-27’s transportation and storage services persons employed.
The relative significance of the transportation and storage services sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the non-financial business economy employment. Among the 171 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2017, the median share of the transportation and storage services sector in the non-financial business economy employment was 7.5 %. 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 Italian region of Liguria and the Polish region Warszawski stoleczny. In each of these two regions, transportation and storage services accounted for 15.0 % or more of non-financial business economy employment. The transportation and storage services sector accounted for less than 5.0 % of non-financial business economy employment only in 7 regions with the Portuguese region Norte at the bottom of the list with the lowest share of employment (3.75 %).
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).
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, Iceland and Norway, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. 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.
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.
More detailed analysis of transportation and storage activities:
- 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)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics - services (sbs_na_serv)
- SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
- SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)