Maritime freight transport in the EU


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Maritime freight transport in the EU

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the gross weight of goods handled in the main ports of the European Union (EU) stood at over 950 million tonnes.  This was an increase of 1.4 % compared with the same quarter of 2015 (close to 940 million tonnes).

Despite continued growth since the second quarter of 2013, the weight of goods passing through the ports in the fourth quarter of 2016 was still lower than the volumes seen before the start of the economic downturn in Europe.

This news item marks World Maritime Day 2017 held under theme 'Connecting Ships, Ports and People'.

Gross weight seaborne goods handled in EU main ports

The source dataset can be accessed here.


The Netherlands leads maritime freight transport, with Rotterdam top EU port

In the fourth quarter of 2016, four Member States handled more than 100 million tonnes of goods in their main ports. These were the Netherlands (150 million tonnes), the United Kingdom (117 million tonnes), Spain (116 million tonnes) and Italy (110 million tonnes).

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the Netherlands (+2%), Spain (+1%), and Italy (+3%) recorded an increase in main port activity in the fourth quarter of 2016. On the other hand, the volume of goods handled in the main ports of the United Kingdom decreased by 4%.

With the exception of 'Roll on - Roll off' mobile units, Rotterdam was the largest European port for all other types of cargo, handling 109 million tonnes of goods. It was followed by Antwerp, Belgium (49 million tonnes), Hamburg, Germany (29 million tonnes), Amsterdam, the Netherlands (25 million tonnes) and Algeciras, Spain (21 million tonnes).


Russia, first maritime partner

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Russia was the EU’s largest maritime transport partner in terms of the total gross weight of goods (74 million tonnes). Russia was followed by the United States (41 million tonnes), China and Norway (both around 30 million tonnes), Turkey (29 million tonnes) and Brazil (25 million tonnes).

You can read more about our quarterly statistics on maritime transport of goods in our dedicated online article.