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SPRING 2018

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Year 2018

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FALL 2018

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WINTER 2018-2019

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4. Companies, Turnover, Freight Rates, Water Levels & Operating Conditions

• With around 3 400 IWT companies in goods transport, the Netherlands represents the country with the highest economic activity in the goods transport sector.
• Rhine countries have a share of 91% of total turnover in European IWT goods transport.
• In passenger transport, economic activity is spread more evenly throughout Europe.
• Switzerland is the country with the highest share of turnover in passenger shipping.

Iwt Companies

And Annual Turnover in Europe

NUMBER OF IWT COMPANIES IN GOODS TRANSPORT IN EUROPE

Source: Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2] and Bundesamt für Statistik (CH)

CH4 Number of IWT companies in goods transport in Europe

 

87% of all IWT goods transport companies are in the Rhine countries (Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland), only 3% are registered in Danube countries (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria), and 10% in other countries (Poland, Italy, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Sweden, etc.)

 

ANNUAL TURNOVER IN IWT GOODS TRANSPORT IN EUROPE (MIO. €)

Source: Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2], Bundesamt für Statistik (CH), Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (NL)

CH4 Annual turnover in IWT goods transport in Europe

 

The goods transport companies in the Netherlands and in Germany account for 80% of turnover in the European IWT goods transport sector. The three other Rhine countries (Belgium, France and Switzerland) account for another 11% of European turnover. All other countries have a share of 9%.

 

NUMBER OF IWT COMPANIES IN PASSENGER TRANSPORT IN EUROPE

Source: Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2] and Bundesamt für Statistik (CH)

CH4 Number of IWT companies in passenger transport in Europe

 

Only 42% of all IWT passenger shipping companies are located in Rhine countries, 6% are registered in Danube countries and 52% in Sweden, Poland, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Czech Republic, Spain, etc. This is explained by the fact that the Eurostat definition for an IWT passenger shipping company contains companies active on rivers and lakes. Statistically there is no distinction made between river and lake passenger shipping. In particular, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Germany are countries with a large number of lakes and many passenger vessels that offer day trip excursions or scheduled services on these lakes.

 

ANNUAL TURNOVER IN IWT PASSENGER TRANSPORT IN EUROPE (MIO €)

Source: Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2], Bundesamt für Statistik (CH), Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (NL)

CH4 Annual turnover in IWT passenger transport in Europe

 

The Swiss passenger shipping companies are often active in river cruises, where the average turnover per company is much higher than in the day trip shipping sector. The sharp increase since 2012 is explained by the booming river cruises (see chapter on River cruises).

 

Quarterly Turnover Development

In 2015, 2016 And 2017

Official data for turnover evolution are published by Eurostat, but recent data are available only with a considerable time-lag5. Therefore, infra-annual data for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 are used, but these data are only available for a limited number of countries. Eurostat publishes infra-annual turnover data only for the NACE sector H50 (water transport), which covers maritime and IWT transport together. Based on this dataset, it is possible to identify turnover in IWT only for countries with practically no activity in maritime shipping (Austria, Hungary).
5 Eurostat annual turnover data for 2017 were not yet available when this report was written.

 

Netherlands

For the Netherlands, turnover data on a quarterly basis are provided by the national statistical office (CBS).

 

TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS (2010=100) – RHINE COUNTRY WITH A HIGH SHARE OF GOODS TRANSPORT

Source: CBS

CH4 Turnover development in the Netherlands

 

Turnover evolution in the transport sector in the Netherlands reveals differences between road and rail transport on the one hand, and maritime and inland shipping on the other hand. This pattern can be explained by common trends in maritime and inland navigation. These trends are related to world trade evolution, mass cargo transport of dry and liquid goods, container transport, etc. All of these goods segments are typical for sea vessels as well as for inland vessels, but not very common in road transport. Rail transport, on the other hand, is also a transport mode
for mass cargo, but to a lesser degree than IWT or sea shipping.

Turnover in road and rail transport developed more steadily and more positively than in IWT and maritime shipping. IWT and maritime shipping show rather strong fluctuations, due to variations in mass cargo transports, in world trade, in commodity prices, and – typical only in its own sector – changes in water levels on rivers.

 

Hungary and Austria

 

Hungary is a Middle Danube country where goods transport has a high share in IWT turnover (almost 3/4). Comparisons with the level of goods transport shows a strong relationship between transport demand and turnover evolution.

The drop of turnover in Q1 2017 was due to the restrictions of navigation on the Danube due to low water levels and ice in winter 2017/2018. The increase of turnover in Q3 2017 (+18% compared to Q3 2016) is a parallel to the strong increase of transport demand in this quarter (+11.5%), although stronger in magnitude. The uptake in Q2/17, Q3/17, Q4/17 reflects catch-up effects after the difficult navigation conditions in Q1/17.

 

TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN HUNGARY (2010=100) – DANUBE COUNTRY WITH MAINLY GOODS TRANSPORT ACTIVITY

Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q]

CH4 Turnover development in Hungary

 

Austria is an Upper Danube country where passenger transport has a very high share in turnover (around 2/3). This explains the dip in every 1st quarter of a year, as cruises and day trip excursions usually do not take place in winter time. Turnover has a seasonal peak in every 3rd quarter.

Turnover in Q3 2017 was 3% higher than in the previous year. An important explanation is found in the upward trend in passenger shipping, both in terms of the number of companies and in terms of their share in turnover.

 

TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA (2010=100) – DANUBE COUNTRY WITH MAINLY PASSENGER TRANSPORT ACTIVITY

Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q]

CH4 Turnover development in Austria

 

Freight Rates and Water Levels

FREIGHT RATES

DEVELOPMENT OF FREIGHT RATES IN THE NETHERLANDS (2015 AVERAGE=100)

Source: CBS – Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek

CH4 Development of freight rates in the Netherlands

 

The average transport prices in 2017 in the Netherlands were at a higher level than in 2016. The reasons for the high level of freight rates in Q1 2017 can be seen in the low water levels on the Rhine. This led to restrictions in vessels’ loading degrees and therefore to higher transport prices. The explanation for the high level in Q2/17, Q3/17 and Q4/17 is more related to economic reasons. The year 2017 brought an economic recovery in Europe and an uptake in transport demand in IWT.

 

DEVELOPMENT OF FREIGHT RATES IN THE DANUBE REGION (2015 AVERAGE=100)

Source: Danube Commission

 

On the Danube, freight rates are mainly determined by bunker fuel costs. These fuel costs represent 50-60% of total operational costs of the Danube vessels. With rising oil and fuel prices, freight rates in 2017 were on average about 15% higher than in 2016.

 

 

FREIGHT RATES IN TANKER SHIPPING AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES ON THE RHINE

On the Rhine, water levels were very low in January 2017, therefore increasing freight rates. Due to this increase, traders on the spot market bought only the absolute necessary volumes and liquid cargo transports mainly came from contractual obligations. In February, freight rates fell back to a normal level, in the wake of recovering water levels. Hence, spot market business picked up again.

In June and July, maintenance works in German and Swiss refineries led to more German and Swiss imports from ARA seaports via the Rhine. As the maintenance works included refineries in northern Germany, there was also more national traffic of mineral oil products in that part of the country. Overall, this had a positive effect on freight rates. Temporarily falling water levels in July thus played an additional role.

Between August and September, traded volumes of mineral oil products and freight rates fell. First of all, rising water levels played a role. Secondly, conditions on the future oil market were orientated towards “backwardation”, a situation where future oil prices are expected to be lower than current prices. This market situation presents no commercial opportunities for transporting oil products into storage depots and brings no upward movement on freight rates.

The backwardation situation on the future oil market continued through autumn and winter, and the combination with relatively high-water levels and loading degrees of vessels, meant that tanker freight rates on the Rhine were on a multiannual average level.

 

MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREES AT KAUB / MIDDLE RHINE FOR VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 2.5 AND 3 METERS, COMPARED WITH FREIGHT RATE INDEX*

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from the German Federal Office of Hydrology and PJK International. * Freight rates in tanker shipping

 

Water levels, vessels’ loading degrees and freight rates are quite strongly interconnected. This connection also exists when data over a long time period are analysed. The following figure shows monthly data between January 2002 and March 2018. The relationship appears to be non-linear, and can be described by a power function as a trend curve: If water levels fall under a certain threshold, freight rates will increase more strongly than they would increase otherwise.

 

WATER LEVELS AT KAUB / MIDDLE RHINE COMPARED WITH FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR TANKER SHIPPING ON THE RHINE (MONTHLY DATA, 1/2002-3/2018)

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from the German Federal Office of Hydrology and PJK International.

 

Bankruptcies

And Creation of new Enterprises

The figure on the evolution of bankruptcies in IWT in the Netherlands (goods transport) shows a strong decrease of bankruptcies from 2012 onwards. The high number of enterprises that left the market in 2012 was a consequence of the financial crisis in 2009, which only came after a certain time delay. Overall, the figure shows that operating conditions in the sector are on an upwards path since 2012.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE NUMBER OF BANKRUPTCIES IN FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN THE NETHERLANDS*

Source: CBS *Bankruptcies in goods transport. Natural persons are single vessel owners.

CH4 Evolution of the number of bankruptcies in freight transport in the Netherlands

 

Although the majority of Dutch IWT owners are natural persons (and therefore single vessel owners), they only account for a small part of bankruptcies. The high amount of new enterprises created in 2009 was still the result of the favourable economic conditions before the financial crisis breakout. In the years after 2009, new creation stabilised at a lower level and in 2016 and 2017, the numbers were higher than in 2013 and 2014. Also here, natural persons form the majority.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE NUMBER OF NEWLY CREATED ENTERPRISES IN FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN THE NETHERLANDS*

Source: CBS *New enterprises in goods transport. Natural persons are single vessel owners.

CH4 Evolution of the number of newly created enterprises in freight transport in the Netherlands

Annual report
Year 2018

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FALL 2018

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WINTER 2018-2019

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