Market Insight
SPRING 2018

Annual report
Year 2018

Market Insight
FALL 2018

Market Insight
WINTER 2018-2019

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• The size of the European fleet remained rather stable in 2017, although the newbuilding rate picked up.
• The Rhine fleet accounts for almost 10,000 vessels for goods traffic, and the Danube fleet for around 3,000 vessels.
• The Netherlands has the largest fleet within the Rhine fleet overall, with a share of around 50% of all tanker, dry cargo and push & tug vessels. Within the Danube countries, Romania accounts for a similar high share of all vessels.

 

FLEET SIZE EVOLUTION

More than 13,000 inland vessels were registered as active vessels in the Rhine and Danube basins in 2016/2017. The Rhine fleet dominates with a global share of 75%. In 2017, the size of the European fleet remained practically stable compared to 2016.

 

In Europe, there are around 10,000 inland vessels in Rhine countries, and more than 3,000 vessels in Danube countries. In Rhine countries, 72% of all vessels are dry cargo vessels (self-propelled units or dumb barges). Tanker vessels account for 15% and push & tug boats for 13%. In Danube countries, the share of dry cargo vessels is 75%, tanker vessels account for 7% and push & tug boats for 18%.

 

RHINE COUNTRIES

In 2017, 51% of all active vessels registered in Rhine countries flew a Dutch flag; 25% were vessels with a German flag, and the other 24% vessels were from Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The majority of vessels operate in the dry cargo sector. Within the Dutch fleet, 70% of all vessels are self-propelled dry cargo vessels or dry cargo dumb barges. Within the Belgian and French fleets, the share of dry cargo vessels is even higher, with 82% and 95% respectively. The German fleet has relatively more tanker vessels, and the dry cargo share is “only” 66%. Switzerland and Luxembourg are countries where the share of tanker vessels reaches values above 50%: the share of tanker vessels is 86% for the Swiss fleet and 82% for the Luxembourg fleet.

 

Overall structure of the fleet in Rhine countries (number of dry cargo, tanker cargo and push & tug vessels) by nationality*

Source: CCNR analysis based on national administrations. *figures for Germany are for 2016

CH5 Overall structure of the fleet in Rhine countries by nationality

 

EVOLUTION OF THE FLEET IN RHINE COUNTRIES (NUMBER OF DRY CARGO, TANKER CARGO AND PUSH & TUG VESSELS)

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from national administrations. Note: For Germany, data indicated for 2017 are from 2016.

CH5 Evolution of the fleet in Rhine countries

 

The number of vessels followed a declining trend during the last decade. But in the years 2016 and 2017 there was an increase in the newbuilding rate, which was able to bring the decline of the Rhine fleet to a halt. Concerning the total loading capacity, it was not reduced during the last decade, unlike the number of vessels. The reasons are that smaller vessels left the market and vessels with a higher loading capacity were added to the market, especially prior to 2010.

In 2017, the loading capacity of dry cargo and liquid cargo units in Rhine countries amounted to 13.5 million tonnes. The number of vessels (including push & tug boats) amounted to more than 9,800 units.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE DRY CARGO FLEET IN RHINE COUNTRIES

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from national administrations. Note: For Germany, data indicated for 2017 are from 2016.

CH5 Evolution of the dry cargo fleet in Rhine countries

 

In the dry cargo segment, the number of vessels decreased further in 2017; but due to a rising newbuilding rate, and larger vessels coming on the market, the total loading capacity did not parallel this decrease. 50% of all dry cargo vessels in the Rhine fleet had a Dutch flag in 2017, 22% a German flag, 15% a French flag, and 13% a Belgian flag. Switzerland’s and Luxembourg’s shares were below 0.1 %.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE TANKER CARGO FLEET IN RHINE COUNTRIES

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from national administrations. Note: For Germany, data indicated for 2017 are from 2016.

CH5 Evolution of the tanker cargo fleet in Rhine countries

 

In tanker shipping, the total number of vessels continued to decrease in 2017, to a value of 1,501 units, but the decrease was quite limited when compared to the previous years. The total loading capacity was more or less stable, keeping a level at around 3.1 million tonnes. The average loading capacity per vessels surpassed the swell of 2,000 tonnes.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE PUSH & TUG FLEET IN RHINE COUNTRIES (NUMBER OF VESSELS)

Source: National administrations, CCNR analysis. Note: For Germany, data indicated for 2017 are from 2016.

CH5 Evolution of the push & tug fleet in Rhine countries

 

The push & tug fleet remained almost stable at a level of slightly more than 1,200 units over a decade, in all Rhine countries except France. At present, the Belgian fleet of push & tug boats follows a decreasing trend, while the fleet in the Netherlands is growing.

 

DANUBE COUNTRIES

75% of all 3,214 vessels in the Danube fleet are dry cargo vessels. 18% are push or tug boats and 7% are tankers.

Within the 2,424 dry cargo vessels, 84% are dumb barges (non-self-propelled vessels).

The total loading capacity of the Danube fleet amounts to 3.4 million tonnes, of which 93% is dry cargo tonnage and only 7% liquid cargo tonnage.

Romania has the largest Danube fleet with a 50% share in the number of vessels and a 48% share in the total loading capacity. The Romanian fleet has been increasing for several years, while the fleets of other Danube countries – in particular those from Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia – are shrinking.

 

STRUCTURE OF THE FLEET IN DANUBE COUNTRIES (NUMBER OF DRY CARGO, TANKER CARGO AND PUSH & TUG VESSELS) BY NATIONALITY*

Source: Danube Commission. *figures are for 2016

 

In 2016, Ukrainian vessels had the highest average loading capacity in Danube countries, with an average tonnage of 1,547 tonnes for dry cargo vessels, and 1,667 tonnes for tanker vessels. In the dry cargo segment, Slovakian vessels (1,535 tonnes) and Bulgarian vessels (1,495 tonnes) were ranked 2 and 3 behind the Ukraine. The smallest dry cargo vessels are to be found in Croatia (807 tonnes).

Only 406 out of 2,536 dry cargo vessels in Danube countries were self-propelled. The reason for this rather low share has to do with the different types of operation on the Danube. The push boat and tug boat operation with barges – often in the form of convoys involving up to 16 barges being pushed by push boats – is of high importance on the Danube. The share of self-propelled vessels is thus lower than in Rhine countries.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE DRY CARGO FLEET IN DANUBE COUNTRIES

Source: Danube Commission

 

The tanker sector is dominated by the Romanian fleet which has a share of 46%, followed by Serbia (18%), Croatia (14%) and Bulgaria (9%). With a total of 203 tanker vessels registered in Danube countries, the tanker fleet segment only has a share of 6% of the total Danube fleet.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE TANKER CARGO FLEET IN DANUBE COUNTRIES

Source: Danube Commission

 

Similarly, the Ukrainian vessels have the highest average loading capacity, with 1,667 tonnes. Romanian tanker vessels are amongst the smallest, with an average of only 925 tonnes.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE PUSH & TUG FLEET IN DANUBE COUNTRIES (NUMBER OF VESSELS)

Source: Danube Commission

 

The number of push & tug vessels slightly decreased from 2010 onwards, mainly due to the reduction of the Ukrainian (-25%) and Hungarian (-27%) fleets. From 2015 to 2016, the strong decrease was due to a reduction of Serbian push and tug boats. The Romanian fleet, having been reduced until 2014, has grown very strongly during 2015 and 2016. Romania is in fact the only country where the number of push & tug boats has increased since 2005. In all other countries, there were negative trends.

 

Comparison between Rhine and Danube structure of the fleet (2016/2017)

 

The structure of the fleet in Rhine and Danube countries is similar – most of the vessels transport dry cargo bulk. In 2016/2017, a total of about 7,100 and 2,400 dry cargo vessels operated in the Rhine and Danube countries respectively. In tanker shipping, the structure differs slightly. As the sector has more activity in the Rhine region, more vessels operate in this area (15%). About 1,500 tanker vessels were active on the Rhine as compared to 203 vessels operating in the Danube area. The push & tug fleet represents a higher percentage than tanker vessels in the Danube fleet structure, showing that the operational mode of convoy traffic is quite important on the Danube.

 

RHINE STRUCTURE OF THE FLEET

Source: National Administrations

CH5 Rhine structure of the fleet

 

DANUBE STRUCTURE OF THE FLEET

Source: Danube Commission

 

 

NEW VESSEL CONSTRUCTION

In 2017, the dry cargo tonnage added to the market was about 75% higher than in 2016

In 2017, the newbuilding rate in western Europe picked up significantly compared to the years before. This was the case for the dry cargo vessels as well as for the tanker vessels. 28 new dry cargo vessels with a total capacity of about 80,000 tonnes meant an increase of 75% (both in numbers and in capacity) compared to the previous year. The newbuilding rate in the dry cargo segment is pursuing its recovery, after its low point in 2014.

The tanker cargo segment also increased its newbuilding rate in 2017. There were 27 new vessels, with a total capacity of 67,000 tonnes. The increase by 35% in numbers and by 40% in tonnage was less strong than in the dry cargo segment. This is explained by the fact that the tanker segment had already invested heavily in new capacities in the previous years, due to the conversion from single hull to double hull ships.

 

NEW CAPACITY COMING ON THE MARKET IN DRY AND TANKER CARGO SECTORS (TONNAGE 1000 T)

Source: IVR

 

In 2016 and 2017 there was more diversification within the countries of registration of new vessels. For example, in 2017, 13 out of 28 new dry cargo vessels – therefore about one half of all new vessels in that year – were registered in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. The remaining 15 vessels were registered in the Netherlands. But in the years 2012-2015, and especially in 2014 when newbuilding rates reached their low points, almost all new vessels came from one country only, the Netherlands.

 

NEW DRY CARGO VESSELS COMING ON THE MARKET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTRATION (NUMBERS, 2011-2017)

Source: IVR

 

Diversification is also observed for the newly built tanker vessels. The share of German new tanker vessels has increased since 2011, reaching 60% in the year 2017. In the tanker segment, countries of registration comprise also Switzerland and Luxembourg.

 

NEW TANKER VESSELS COMING ON THE MARKET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTRATION (NUMBERS, 2011-2017)

Source: IVR

 

New tug boats, push boats and push & tugs are less frequently observed. In the period from 2012 until 2017, only 20 newbuildings from this group came on the western European market, and 12 out of 20 were in the Netherlands. In 2017, there were four newbuildings, two in Germany, one in the Netherlands and one in Luxembourg.

 

CAPACITY MONITORING

 

CAPACITY UTILISATION RATES IN DRY CARGO SHIPPING (%)

Source: Panteia and CCNR

 

In 2017, the average utilisation rate of the dry cargo fleet dropped compared to 2016. In the corresponding graph, the evolution of the demand/supply ratio in inland navigation is plotted for the different cargo segments. It can be noted that vessels over 2,000 tonnes contributed to the decline.

The major reasons for this decline are negative growth rates for specific cargo segments which are of great importance for these vessel categories (coal and ore, due to the closure of coal plants) but on the other hand, better water conditions as compared to 2016.

In 2016 low water levels were prominent from October to December, whereas in 2017 there were only low water levels in January. Capacity utilisation remained high for the vessel categories with up to 1,000 tonnes of loading capacity, and for the vessel category from 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes, despite the higher water levels.

Although the dry cargo fleet shows a structural recovery from the crisis, fleet utilisation rates still did not reach the values of 2007 and 2008. This is mainly due to a large increase in the fleet capacity. These developments still show indications of overcapacity in the dry cargo fleet. However, it should be noted that overcapacity only exists for the category of largest vessels.

 

CAPACITY UTILISATION RATES IN DRY CARGO SHIPPING (%)

Source: Panteia and CCNR

 

In 2017 the average utilisation rate of the liquid cargo fleet rose by 3% to 64%. The major reason for this increase is the decommissioning of single hull tankers and the increase in transport performance (more hinterland forwarding and less inter-port traffic).

Due to the obligation for transporting almost all kinds of liquid commodities in double hull vessels from 2019 onwards, nearly all single-hull tankers have recently been discarded. Low water levels in the past years delayed the decommissioning of these tankers. Last year, this mainly affected the tankers larger than 2,000 tonnes.

 

Annual report
Year 2018

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Market Insight
FALL 2018

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Market Insight
WINTER 2018-2019

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