Market Insight
SPRING 2018

Annual report
Year 2018

Market Insight
FALL 2018

Market Insight
WINTER 2018-2019

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2. Freight traffic on inland waterways

• In 2017, total EU transport performance on inland waterways reached 146 millions tonne-kilometres, an increase of 1% compared with 2016.
• This overall performance was mainly boosted by the Rhine and Western Europe, where increasing figures were observed for countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
• Container transport on European inland waterways accounts for more than 16 million tonne-kilometres, and increased by 5% in 2017. More than 99% of this traffic takes place in Rhine countries.
• Danube traffic suffered under ice and low water conditions in January 2017 but recovered very well afterwards; traffic figures on the upper Danube stretch (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary) were, at the end of the year, slightly higher than in 2016. The lower Danube countries (Romania and Bulgaria), however, did not reach the results of 2016.

Inland Navigation

Goods Transport in Europe

SHARE OF THE COUNTRIES’ TKM IN TOTAL TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE (SHARE IN %)

Source: Eurostat

 

IWT TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN 2015, 2016 AND 2017 IN MAIN EU IWT COUNTRIES (TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN MILLION TKM)

Source: Eurostat

CH2 IWT transport performance in 2015, 2016 and 2017 in main EU IWT countries

 

QUARTERLY TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE EVOLUTION IN MAIN IWT EU COUNTRIES (TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN MILLION TKM)

Source: Eurostat

CH2 Quarterly transport performance evolution in main IWT EU countries (1)

 

Source: Eurostat

CH2 Quarterly transport performance evolution in main IWT EU countries (2)

 

Inland Navigation

Goods Transport in Main European River Basins

 

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis, CCNR

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Traditional Rhine

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE RHINE (2017)

Source: Destatis and CCNR analysis

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Rhine (2017)

 

The Rhine is by far the most important European basin per volume of goods transported, with a share of 2/3 of European volumes transported by IWT on this river. Focusing on the “Traditional Rhine” (the Rhine between Basel and the Dutch-German border), transported volume accounts for not far from 50% of the volume transported on European inland waterways.

The stable traffic level in 2017 compared to 2016 is mainly due to the increase of container transport and building materials transport, while coal and agricultural products transports were declining. Poor harvests in 2016 also impacted agricultural products transport in the first semester of 2017, which explains the 14% decrease of this segment of transport over the year.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE MOSELLE (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis, CCNR

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Moselle

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE MOSELLE (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration – lock of Koblenz

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Moselle (2016)

 

The Moselle runs from Lorraine (France) to Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), and inland navigation transport mainly relies on agricultural products, raw materials for the steel industry and more and more on container transport. Even though volumes are still limited compared to other rivers, container traffic has been growing constantly since 2014 on the Moselle. With 21,685 TEU transported over the year, an increase of almost 15% of container transport was recorded between 2016 and 2017. On the other hand, coal and steel segments are partly affected by the decline of steel production in Lorraine. This explains the decreasing share of these segments in total IWT on the Moselle.

 

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE SAAR RIVER (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis – Saar, Moselle to Völklingen

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Saar river

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE SAAR RIVER (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration – lock of Kanzem (Rhineland-Palatinate)

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Saar river (2016)

 

The Saar river is the largest tributary of the Moselle and has been navigable for 104 km since 1988. It rises in the Vosges mountains in Lorraine (France) and flows northwards into the Moselle near Trier (Germany). It is intensively used by the steel industry in Saarland (Germany). Despite its lesser importance in terms of volume transported, the Saar is very useful for the steel industry for importing raw materials and exporting metals.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE MITTELLAND CANAL (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis, CCNR

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Mittelland Canal

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE MITTELLAND CANAL (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration – lock of Sülfeld, near Hanover 

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Mittelland Canal (2016)

 

The 325.3 km long Mittelland Canal is the longest artificial waterway in Germany. It connects east and west in northern Germany, from the Rhine region to the Oder region. At the European level, the canal provides a link between the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland, on the one hand, and Poland and the Czech Republic on the other.

Its construction started in 1906 and was aimed at providing a low-cost transportation mode for agricultural products from the surplus production region east of Berlin to very populated regions of west Germany. Agricultural products are still the main segment in terms of freight transport on the Mittelland Canal with more than 1/3 of total freight. Besides, the diversification of the utility that linked industrial regions and main northern Europe sea ports accounts for the importance of building materials and petroleum products transport.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE SEINE BASIN (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: VNF

CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Seine basin

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE SEINE RIVER BASIN (2017)

Source: VNF.
Note: the category “machinery and equipment” – which mainly covers container traffic – has been retained as the indicator of container transport. 

 

With more than 20 million tonnes of goods transported every year, the Seine river basin is the main river basin in France in terms of freight transport. Linked to major sea ports such as Le Havre and Rouen and many inland ports, it represents approximately 25% of the French inland waterway network and 40% of the national traffic in terms of volume transported.

The poor harvests of 2016 had a negative impact on agricultural products transport in the first semester of 2017 but this was partially compensated by the dynamism of the building materials segment. The expansion of the construction industry in the Ile-de-France region – namely due to the “Grand Paris” project – is beneficial for inland shipping on the Seine. Besides, the agricultural sector has regained its usual level of production so that the level of export is expected to increase in 2018.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE RHÔNE-SAÔNE RIVER BASIN (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: VNF

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Rhône-Saône river basin

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE RHÔNE-SAÔNE RIVER BASIN (2017)

Source: VNF.
Note: the category “machinery and equipment” – which mainly covers container traffic – has been retained as the indicator of container transport. 

CH2 Share of products transported on the Rhône-Saône river basin (2017)

 

The Rhône-Saône basin connects the region of Burgundy with south-eastern France and the Mediterranean Sea.

Despite the difficulties of the agricultural products segment and the decrease of petroleum products transport, total freight transport was 6.2% higher in 2017 than in 2016. This increase in volume transported is largely due to the significant growth of the segment of sand, stones and building materials driven by the expansion of the construction sector in Europe. As a result of the deterioration of the quality of services in the maritime terminals (new maritime alliances) that affected regular inland waterway lines, container traffic on the Rhône has been decreasing for two
consecutive years.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE NORD-PAS-DE-CALAIS RIVER BASIN (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: VNF

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Nord-Pas-de-Calais river basin

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED IN THE NORD-PAS-DE-CALAIS RIVER BASIN (2017)

Source: VNF

 

 

The Nord-Pas-de-Calais river basin is important as it represents 10% of the French inland waterway network. The decrease of 2% in total traffic between 2016 and 2017 is explained by the strong decline (-15.2%) of the agro-food segment. Besides, the downturn of the energy resources sector particularly affected IWT in the north basin with a 12% decrease of coal transport and nearly 3% decrease of petroleum products transport. Nevertheless, the recovery of the agricultural sector and the expansion of container traffic will allow for a higher performance of the activity on the basin in 2018.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE ELBE (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Elbe

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE ELBE (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration – lock of Geesthacht, near Hamburg.

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Elbe (2016)

 

The Elbe river runs from the Czech Republic to eastern and northern Germany, and flows into the North Sea, around 100 km downstream from Hamburg. The Elbe is also linked to Berlin, via the Havel river. By far the largest part of transport volumes are currently observed on the Lower Elbe, which is the stretch of the Elbe in the vicinity of the port of Hamburg. Inland shipping on the Elbe strongly relies on progressively declining industries. Indeed, petroleum products and coal segments -which represent 1/2 of the total freight transported – are decreasing, as well as agricultural products transport.

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE MAIN (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the Main

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE MAIN (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration

 CH2 Share of products transported on the Main

 

The Main river is the union of two small rivers: the Red Main which rises in the hills of Franconian Switzerland and the White Main which takes its source in the Fichtel mountains in northeastern Bavaria. Since 1992, the river has been connected to the Danube and forms part of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal, which links the North Sea to the Black Sea. As many other rivers, structural changes related to the economic and financial crisis of 2008 deeply affected IWT on the Main. With more than 15 million tonnes of freight traffic, the volumes transported on the Main are still lower than before the crisis (around 20 million tonnes transported in 2007).

 

YEARLY VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE WEST GERMAN CANAL NETWORK (TOTAL VOLUME IN MILLIONS OF TONNES)

Source: Destatis

 CH2 Yearly volume of goods transported on the west German canal network

 

SHARE OF PRODUCTS TRANSPORTED ON THE WEST GERMAN CANAL NETWORK (2016)

Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration – Wesel-Datteln Canal (lock of Friedrichsfeld)

 CH2 Share of products transported on the west German canal network

 

The west German canal network is located in the Ruhr area and composed of six interconnected canals. These canals create the link between the German North Sea ports, their hinterland and the Rhine river basin. They also connect the rivers Rhine, Ems, Weser und Elbe which may explain the high volumes of transport (around 40 million tonnes per year) on the basin. Freight transport on the west German basin is largely dominated by the energy sector which represents almost 50% of the total volume transported.

 

Iww Transport

Per Type Of Goods In The Rhine Area

QUARTERLY TRANSPORT VOLUME ON THE RHINE AND MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE FOR VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 METERS AT KAUB / MIDDLE RHINE

Source: Destatis, calculation CCNR based on German Federal Office of Hydrology

 CH2 Quarterly transport volume on the Rhine and maximum loading degree for vessels with a draught of 3 meters at Kaub Middle Rhine

 

Periods of low water levels fall together with a decrease in transport activity, and hydraulicity is obviously the determining factor.

Over the total year 2017, transport volumes on the traditional Rhine were more or less at the same level as in the previous year (+ 0.3 %), while transport performance was 2.3% higher than in 2016.

In the course of the year 2017, the recovery in water levels helped to create an upward trend for the transport of almost all types of cargo.

 

QUARTERLY IWT TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE PER TYPE OF CARGO (MILLION TKM)

Source: Destatis

CH2 Quarterly IWT transport performance on the traditional Rhine per type of cargo

 

Dry cargo still has the largest share in overall Rhine traffic. But the share of container traffic is growing and stands at 16% within total transport performance, compared to 12% within total transport volume.

 

SHARE OF DIFFERENT CARGO TYPES ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE (2017, IN %)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 CH2 Share of different cargo types on the traditional Rhine

 

A further split into goods segments reveals that the two largest segments in Rhine traffic are both energy-based (coal and mineral oil products), and that both of these energy-related segments followed a downward trend in the recent past. These decreasing trends are due to structural changes in the energy sector, such as the reduction of coal being used in power plants, and the reduction of heating oil in households.

Iron ore traffic is relatively stable with a very limited upward trend. The main driving force, the steel industry in Germany, has until now managed to maintain its important position, being the seventh biggest steel producer worldwide.

The influencing factor for the transport of sands, stones and building materials is the construction activity, and there are certainly positive trends ahead, due to a rising population and more industrial facilities.

Chemical transport also has a positive evolution, not only on the Rhine, but on nearly all European waterways (see following chapters). Regarding container traffic, its presence is still a particular feature of the Rhine and the Rhine countries, where it has the highest growth rates of all goods segments.

Agricultural products traffic was negatively impacted by bad harvest results in 2016. This explains the decrease in 2016 and also in 2017. Apart from this, the long-term trends are rather positive.

 

YEARLY EVOLUTION OF VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE BY TYPE OF GOODS (YEARLY VOLUME IN THOUSAND TONNES)

Source: CCNR analysis based on national statistic offices data

 CH2 Yearly evolution of volume of goods transported on the Traditional Rhine by type of goods

 

VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE (IN THOUSAND TONNES)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 

Further statistical analysis is able to reveal some geographical-economic dimensions of Rhine shipping. The following figure shows the transport performance for agricultural products and foodstuffs on the three different parts of the Rhine, and on its tributaries, per direction of transport. This goods segment has a high share of downstream traffic, as grain and other agricultural products are mostly exportorientated (transport in direction to seaports), and also because the foodstuff industry is often located in the Lower Rhine region and in the Netherlands.

The Mosel and Main are two tributaries flowing in regions with a high level of agricultural production. Analysis shows that 98% of the agricultural products on the German part of the Mosel come from France, with their destinations being the Netherlands (52%), Germany (38%), and Belgium (9%).

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AND FOODSTUFFS ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES PER DIRECTION OF TRANSPORT (2017, IN MIO. TKM)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 CH2 Transport performance for agricultural products and foodstuffs on the Traditional Rhine and its tributaries per direction of transport

 

A large share of agricultural products transported on the Main come from Germany itself (2/3), but 21.3% come from Hungary, 5.4% from Austria, and 5.0% from Slovakia, Croatia or Serbia. Their destinations are Germany (38.3%), the Netherlands (33.0%), Belgium (24.6%), France and Switzerland (2.3%) and other Danube countries (1.9%). This shows the linkages between the Danube basin and the Rhine basin via the Main-Danube canal and the river Main.

The picture becomes very different regarding iron ore transport. 98.5% of iron ore transport on the Rhine is upstream traffic – from the port of Rotterdam to the steel industry in the Ruhr area, and also to the steel industry in the Saar region via the Rhine, Mosel and Saar. The Lower Rhine has by far the largest share of iron ore transport in the Rhine basin.

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR IRON ORES ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES PER DIRECTION OF TRANSPORT (2017, IN MIO. TKM)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

CH2 Transport performance for iron ores on the Traditional Rhine and its tributaries per direction of transport

 

Metals – the final products of the steel industry in the Ruhr area – are transported in both directions (upstream and downstream). Those from the Saar region are delivered predominantly downstream, via the Saar and Moselle further towards the Rhine.

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR METALS AND METAL PRODUCTS ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES PER DIRECTION OF TRANSPORT (2017, IN MIO. TKM)

 CH2 Transport performance for metals and metal products on the Traditional Rhine and its tributaries per direction of transport

 

A goods segment with a predominance of upstream traffic is, besides iron ores, also the mineral oil product segment. This is explained by the provision of heating oil for households in the hinterland, and the origin of the petroleum products in the ARA region. Compared to the other goods segments, the transport of petroleum products is far more concentrated on the Rhine itself, so transport on tributaries is relatively small.

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES PER DIRECTION OF TRANSPORT (2017, IN MIO. TKM)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 CH2 Transport performance for petroleum products on the Traditional Rhine and its tributaries per direction of transport

 

The transport of sands, stones, gravel, and building materials has a very high share of downstream traffic. This is due to natural factors, such as the high abundance of gravel in the upper Rhine area, from where it is exported towards the building industry in north-western Germany and the Netherlands.

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR SANDS, STONES, GRAVEL AND BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE AND ITS TRIBUTARIES PER DIRECTION OF TRANSPORT (2017, IN MIO. TKM)

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 CH2 Transport performance for sands, stones, gravel and building materials on the Rhine and its tributaries per direction of transport

 

 

IWW TRANSPORT

PER TYPE OF GOODS IN THE DANUBE AREA

The two main pillars of Danube shipping are the steel industry and the agricultural sector. Agricultural products, especially grain, enjoy a share of one third of total transport performance in Danube countries (without foodstuffs). Agriculture and foodstuff production plays a big role, especially in the middle Danube region (Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia), and is strongly tied with inland shipping, although it stands in competition with road transport.

The second pillar, the steel segment, needs iron ores in large volumes, which are imported from overseas and transshipped at the Black Sea ports. Iron ore transport has a share of around 20% of total transport performance in Danube countries.1 In the Danube region, five steel production sites are located, with a production potential of 10.5 mio. tonnes. An important event in recent times was the reopening of the steel plant of Smederovo in Serbia which was bought by a Chinese company that started again to produce steel. The associated volumes of additional iron ore traffic on the Danube will start to have an influence on transport demand in 2018.

 

STRUCTURE OF GOODS TRAFFIC IN DANUBE AND IN RHINE COUNTRIES (IN %, BASED ON TKM)*

Source: Analysis CCNR based on Eurostat [iww_go_atygo]
* Danube countries = Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia; Rhine countries = Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands.

 CH2 Structure of goods traffic in Danube and in Rhine countries

 

Comparing the Danube with the Rhine countries, it can be observed that goods transport in the Rhine region is more diversified. This diversity is partly due to container transport, which accounts for 13% in Rhine countries, while it is almost inexistent in the Danube region. The large share of agricultural products in Danube shipping makes it quite vulnerable to bad harvest results. It should also be noted that navigation on both, the Danube and the Rhine, is vulnerable to low water periods, affecting strongly the overall transport performance in both river basins.

As in the Rhine region, Danube traffic is more intense near the sea, and in this case near the Black Sea. This is certainly due to better navigation conditions in the lower Danube region compared to the middle and upper Danube.

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN THE DANUBE AREA (MIO. TKM)*

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_atygo] and Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia. * Lower Danube = Romania; Middle Danube: Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia; Upper Danube: Austria. Values for 2016

*Source: Calculation CCNR based on Eurostat data [iww_go_atygo], and data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

 

 

 

In 2017, transport activity on the Danube did not have an easy start. In January and February, harsh winter conditions created ice and low water levels on large parts of the river. Navigation was even suspended for a certain time, and ports were closed. The consequences were of course strong losses of cargo traffic. According to the Danube Commission, in January and February, transport activity on the upper Danube represented only 41% of the level noted during the same time period in 2016. The decrease was particularly notable for heavy mass cargo such as iron ore. Transport activity on the middle Danube dropped to only 37% of the level in January and February 2016.

Despite these problematic conditions at the beginning of the year, Danube traffic caught up and reached, by the end of 2017, a higher level than in 2016.

Thus, a positive driver was certainly the recovery on the steel market. Mixed signals came from the grain market. The agricultural market started very well in the year 2017. Large inventories of grain were available in the first half of 2017, thanks to an above average grain harvest level in 2016 in the Danube region. But unfavourable weather conditions in January, April and May contributed to a rather bad harvest result in 20172. Grain and foodstuff transport were therefore below the level of 2016. Forecasts for 2018 point to a higher harvest result than in 2017.

The following figure shows the transport volume at the middle Danube during the period 2013-2017. The volumes are registered at the town of Mohacs in southern Hungary, near to the border triangle of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia.

2 Source: Danube Commission market observation report and Eurostat [apro_cpsh1]. See also chapter “Outlook” in this report.

 

YEARLY EVOLUTION OF VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORTED BY IWT BY TYPE OF GOODS IN THE DANUBE AREA (YEARLY VOLUME IN 1000 TONNES ON MIDDLE DANUBE – HUNGARY/CROATIA/SERBIA BORDER AREA*)

Source: Danube Commission market observation report. *Mohacs

 

 

Grain and iron ores were the largest product segments in 2017, with almost equally high volumes, but with total opposite patterns when it comes to the direction of transport. Grain is indeed transported from the fertile lands in Hungary and Serbia downstream to the seaports at the Black Sea, to be exported to countries such as Italy and Spain, and to northern Africa. The same applies to foodstuffs. Iron ores and coal are delivered upstream to the steel industry in Hungary and Austria, coming from overseas and being transshipped to the seaports of the Black Sea (especially Constanța).

 

GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE DANUBE IN THE BORDER AREA BETWEEN HUNGARY, CROATIA AND SERBIA IN 2017 (IN 1000 TONNES)

Source: Danube Commission market observation report

 

Inland Navigation

Container Transport in Europe

DISTRIBUTION OF CONTAINER TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN 2017 IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Source: Eurostat

 CH2 Distribution of container transport performance on inland waterways in 2017 in the EU

 

CONTAINER TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN EUROPE (TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN MILLION TKM)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_actygo]

 CH2 Container transport performance on inland waterways in Europe

 

Container transport on inland waterways in Europe amounted to 16.6 million tonnekilometres in 2017. More than 99% of this container transport takes place in only four European countries – Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The volume of goods transported in containers in 2017 was: Belgium (37 mio. t), Germany (23.6 mio. t), the Netherlands (52 mio. t), and France (4.2 mio. t), and the growth rates compared to 2016 were: Belgium (+6%), Germany (+4%), the Netherlands (+6%), France (+0%).

Between 2007 and 2017, container transport volumes (tonnes) grew by 38% in Belgium, by 18% in Germany, by 47% in the Netherlands, and by 19% in France.

Container transport is strongly linked with maritime container traffic in seaports. This is especially true of the ARA seaports (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rotterdam) that are gateways for container shipping on the North-South axis and on the Rhine. This part of container traffic is considered as international traffic, reflecting international transport chains between overseas countries and Europe. However, with the financial crisis in 2008/2009, the growth curve for maritime trade and maritime container traffic was influenced quite strongly. Growth rates are not the same as they had been previously (see figure below).

 

AVERAGE QUARTERLY GROWTH RATES OF MARITIME CONTAINER TRAFFIC IN MAIN EUROPEAN SEAPORTS (%, BASED ON TEUs)

Source: Eurostat and CCNR analysis

 CH2 Average quarterly growth rates of maritime container traffic in main European seaports

 

Container transport by IWT does, in its quantitative development, reflect this reduction of growth for international maritime container traffic. This is seen in the following figures, where a distinction is made between national and international container traffic on inland waterways. As can be seen, since 2007, national traffic has increased more strongly than international traffic. The difference is also clear since 2013. This relative weakness in international transport can also be explained by congestion problems in seaports. This congestion has a negative impact on IWT container transport, as barges are often handled on the same quaysides as seagoing vessels, and seagoing vessels have priority in goods handling.

 

DIVISION OF CONTAINER TRANSPORT ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN EUROPE BY TYPE OF TRANSPORT (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_actygo]

 

National container traffic is less vulnerable to macroeconomic recessions and to seaport congestion problems than international container traffic, as it reflects more the logistical chains within certain countries in the further hinterland and is not so dependent on international trade.

The main four countries for container transport in Europe have very different shares of national and international container transport:

 

  • Germany has the highest share of international container transport. This is due to the river Rhine, where container transport is strongly connected with the maritime container traffic in ARA seaports. Besides, the Rhine has a share of 94% of total container transport performance in Germany.
  • France has the highest share of national container transport of all four countries. One reason for the low share of international transport is the sub-optimal connection to seaports – in particular the missing link between northern France and the Belgian seaports (Seine-Nord) plays a role.
  • Belgium and the Netherlands have an intermediary position between France and Germany. At the same time, they show higher overall growth rates for container transport than the two larger countries.

 

SHARE OF NATIONAL CONTAINER TRANSPORT AND GROWTH RATE OF TOTAL IWT CONTAINER TRANSPORT (IN %)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_actygo], CCNR analysis

 

Container transport per river basin

After a relatively weak growth in previous years, container traffic on the Rhine increased strongly (by 6%) in 2017. This can be partly explained by better water conditions compared to the years 2016 and 2015; another reason was certainly the special effect due to the Rastatt event. The collapse of a tunnel near the German town of Rastatt in summer 2017 made rail traffic along the Rhine axis impossible for several weeks. The resulting modal shift from rail to the Rhine was also felt by a strong increase in containers being shipped to Switzerland.

Between the years 2000 and 2017, container traffic – measured in TEU – grew by 84% on the Rhine. When comparing 1999 with 2017, it can be seen that container traffic more than doubled during that time.

 

CONTAINER TRANSPORT ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE (IN 1000 TEU) IN THE PERIOD 2000-2017

Source: Destatis and calculation CCNR

 

In other German regions, container transport is, compared with the Rhine, still quite limited. The only regions where it has a significant level are the Elbe, the Weser, the Mittelland Canal and the west German canal network (Ruhr area). The trend on the Elbe and the Mittelland Canal is upward orientated, whereas it is downward orientated on the Weser. The reasons for this are limitations in the infrastructure, and particularly the size of certain locks in the hinterland of seaport of Bremen. In the west German canal network, container traffic is quite stable.

 

CONTAINER TRANSPORT IN BASINS IN GERMANY OUTSIDE THE RHINE (IN 1000 TEU)

Source: Destatis

 CH2 Container transport in basins in Germany outside the Rhine

 

Container traffic on the Danube in Germany amounted to 1,615 TEU in 2017, compared to 602 in 2016 and 75 TEU in 2015. These figures may still be very small, but they show that an increase on the Danube is possible. The region of Berlin and its surroundings (Brandenburg) had a traffic level of 742 TEU in 2017. This meant a decrease compared to 2016 by 25%. Overall, container traffic on German inland waterways is still heavily concentrated in the western and northern parts of the country.

In France, there is also a regional concentration of container transport by IWT, and here it is the northern and eastern parts of the country where this concentration applies. The river Seine leads the way, and its container traffic of course links the capital Paris with the seaport of Le Havre. While container traffic is also progressing in the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, it has lost some of its traffic on the Rhône.

 

CONTAINER TRANSPORT PER BASIN IN FRANCE (IN 1000 TEU)

Source: VNF

 CH2 Container transport per basin in France

 

The reasons for the slowdown on the Rhône are related to evolutions in the seaport of Marseille. New maritime alliances, and the disruptions that they brought with them, led to less reliability of the container lines on the river Rhône in 2016 and 2017.

 

Inland Navigation

And other Modes of Transport

Modal shares for goods transport in the European Union

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION IN RHINE COUNTRIES (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)*

Source: Eurostat. * share of inland waterway transport performance in total (IWT + Road + Rail) transport performance

 CH2 Modal split share evolution in Rhine countries

 

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION IN DANUBE COUNTRIES (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)*

Source: Eurostat *share of inland waterway transport performance in total (IWT + Road + Rail) transport performance

 CH2 Modal split share evolution in Danube countries

 

Overall modal split figures are in a certain fashion statistical averages. The underlying reasons for modal share evolutions can only be revealed by going deeper into the intermodal data, by looking at certain goods segments. In carrying out this exercise, it is important to keep in mind that IWT has a relatively high market share for mass cargo, but that modern economies are also highly dependent on the just-in-time distribution of food products, machines, equipment, etc.

 

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_atygo], [road_go_ta_tg], [rail_go_grpgood], CCNR analysis

 CH2 Modal split share evolution for agricultural products

 

The data for Romania reveal that IWT, although it has the highest transport performance of all three modes, stands in strong competition with road transport in this segment. For the period 2008-2016, whenever a decrease in the transport of agricultural products on the Danube occurred, road transport of agricultural products increased.

In Bulgaria, road transport is higher than Danube transport. But from 2013 onwards, transport on the Danube increased very strongly, while road transport stagnated and rail traffic almost vanished. This explains the modal split gains for agricultural products in Bulgaria.

It is difficult to explain why in France, with its high agricultural production and its many seaports and inland waterways, IWT has such a low modal split share. Road transport has a high and relatively stable share of 80% – 85%. Rail transport is even lower than IWT. One possible explanation could be the decline in the number of inland vessels for dry cargo transport in France, especially as the French vessels are rather small and could be used for transporting agricultural products in the hinterland.

 

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION FOR FOOD PRODUCTS (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_atygo], [road_go_ta_tg], [rail_go_grpgood], CCNR analysis

 CH2 Modal split share evolution for food products

 

Food products are a segment with, on average, very low IWT modal shares. This is due to the fact that food products are often perishable goods, so that long transport times cause major problems in terms of quality and service. But not all parts of this segment are perishable. For example, oil made out of rapeseed is found within this segment. Here, inland shipping could gain further market shares in the future, as these products have a mass cargo character, and show a large potential as an energy resource. Besides, more urban transport chains involving inland vessels could also be
a potential for increasing the food products that are transported on rivers.

 

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION FOR CHEMICAL PRODUCTS (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_atygo], [road_go_ta_tg], [rail_go_grpgood], CCNR analysis

 CH2 Modal split share evolution for chemical products

 

The multimodal data show that IWT gained market shares within the transport for chemicals. Detailed analysis reveals that this has different reasons.

In Rhine countries, road transport for chemicals is decreasing with a long run and quite a robust trend. For example, in Germany, road transport for chemicals fell by 28% between 2008 and 2016, and rail transport by 6%. Inland waterway transport of chemicals increased by 3% during the same time period. In Rhine countries, falling figures for road and partly for rail transport can be explained by safety issues. Indeed, today’s high safety standards in tanker shipping are an advantage compared to other transport modes in this segment.

The Danube countries show different patterns. Here, road transport of chemicals shows a more or less increasing trend. The national transport sectors of these countries are overall more orientated towards road transport. The reason why IWT has nevertheless gained market share for chemicals in Danube countries is due to its  absolute growth, and also because rail transport for chemicals fell in most Danube countries.

 

MODAL SPLIT SHARE EVOLUTION FOR METALS AND METAL PRODUCTS (%, BASED ON TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_atygo], [road_go_ta_tg], [rail_go_grpgood], CCNR analysis

 CH2 Modal split share evolution for metals and metal products

 

Metals and metal products is a segment where road transport still has the highest modal shares, although it has decreased since 2008, due a reduction of absolute transport performance.

Rail and inland waterway transport of metals have both shown a rather constant evolution since 2008. But due to the reduction of road transport, IWT could gain market shares in some countries. It is observed that in the Netherlands, rail transport of metals increased quite strongly in recent years, though on a lower basis than road and IWT.

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Year 2018

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Market Insight
FALL 2018

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Market Insight
WINTER 2018-2019

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