OVERVIEW OF RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN EUROPE PERFORMED BY SEAGOING SHIPS

  • River-sea shipping takes place on all major rivers in Europe that have a connection to the open sea. In the EU, this type of river-sea transport can especially be found in Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal and Romania. Outside the EU, it is well developed in Russia and Ukraine.

KEY RIVER-SEA AREAS IN EUROPE

  • Several major users of sea-river shipping in Europe are the Belgian, German and Romanian steel industries, the Swedish and Finnish timber industries, the petroleum sector in Great Britain, the agricultural sector in the Danube region and in France.
  • Transport of steel products takes place downstream on the river Rhine and transport of Scandinavian timber, paper products and liquefied gaseous products upstream.
  • One quarter of the Trollhätte Canal (Sweden) transport movements consists of oil products.
  • The main trading partners of German river-sea transport are found in northern Europe (Great Britain, Norway and Sweden), while for Belgium and France, there are two main trading routes: one in the north (Great Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway), and another in the south (Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, Italy). France also imports ammonium nitrate exclusively from Antwerp via river-sea transport up to Rouen, on the Seine.
  • Trading partners of Finland are mainly Russia, the Netherlands, the Baltic states and Germany.
  • River-sea transport in Romania is orientated towards the Mediterranean region of southern Europe.
  • Overall, at present, almost 64 million tonnes of goods are transported via river-sea transport in the European Union. Almost 25 million tonnes of goods are transported via river-sea transport in Russia.

 

TABLE 1: OVERVIEW OF RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN EUROPE PERFORMED BY SEAGOING SHIPS

CountryTransport volume river-sea (mio. t)*Transport volumes inland waterway transport (mio. t)*Most important goods segment within river-sea transport
Great Britain47.64.1**Crude petroleum and petroleum products
Russia25115Oil and oil products, grain, coal, timber, metals, fertilizers
Sweden6.620Timber and oil products
Romania4.5029Agricultural products
The Netherlands4.48359Iron and Steel
Belgium1.9205Iron and steel
Finland1.30.4Timber and raw minerals
Germany0.76198Iron and steel
France0.7560Ores, metallurgical scraps and metal products, agricultural products

Source: CCNR analysis based on national statistical offices of the countries mentioned in the table, TrafikAnalys, and Rijkswaterstaat, Russian Chamber of Shipping
*Figures for 2018 for Finland, France, Germany, Romania, Russia, Sweden and the Netherlands, figures for 2017 for Belgium and Great Britain.
**River-sea-traffic in Great Britain is 11.6 times higher than pure inland waterway traffic.

 

  • If river-sea transport was understood as part of the total inland waterway transport figures in the UK, Finland, and Romania, the total transport volumes for inland waterway transport would soar. In Belgium, Germany and France, river-sea transport represents less than 1.5% of total inland waterway transport. In Sweden, this comparison is less relevant as no inland waterway transport is currently recorded.

 

LEGAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS RELATED TO RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT PERFORMED BY SEAGOING SHIPS

  • Seagoing ships that perform river-sea transport are intended to navigate both on inland waterways and at sea, without a transhipment in a seaport. They have an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number. They must therefore be able to navigate in both areas and comply with specific classification rules. They must be built under the supervision of a recognised Classification Society in accordance with its classification requirements.
  • In addition, they must comply with regulatory requirements in force in both sea and inland waterway (IWW) areas. Technical rules related to the equipment and safety of vessels have been settled in an EU directive that apply to all IWWs in Europe (EU Directive 2016/129 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016L1629). However, seagoing ships with statutory seagoing ship certificates (technical requirements as regards construction, equipment and environment) such as SOLAS, Load Lines, or MARPOL (Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Load Lines (LL), Prevention of Marine Pollution from ships (MARPOL)), are allowed to operate on tidal waters or temporarily on EU IWW (Article 2 of EU Directive 2016/129) without having to comply with the technical requirements prescribed in this EU directive. Outside the Rhine, as far as these requirements are fulfilled, a river-sea ship can therefore navigate on inland waterways up to the point where the navigation conditions simply do not allow it to navigate any further (depending on the waterways’ and river-sea ships’ characteristics).
  • Regarding the Rhine in particular, specific technical requirements apply to vessels navigating on the Rhine. This also applies to seagoing ships on the Rhine, which, as well as a seagoing ship statutory certificate must also hold a “certificate for sea-going vessels operating on the Rhine” (In compliance with Article 25.01.2 of the European Standard laying down Technical Requirements for Inland Navigation vessels laying down special provisions applicable to seagoing ships navigating on the Rhine: https://www.cesni.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ES_TRIN_2019_en.pdf). In addition, seagoing ships carrying liquid or gas dangerous goods may navigate on EU inland waterways only if they hold an ADN certificate (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN)).
  • Regarding environmental requirements, seagoing ships adapted to navigate on inland waterways must comply with environmental requirements applicable to seagoing ships, in particular IMO pollution and emission standards, and not with those applicable to inland vessels.
  • Beyond regulatory and statutory requirements, conditions for river-sea shipping also vary between countries and depend greatly on the geographical situation, the sailing area, the waterways infrastructure and weather conditions. Indeed, river-sea ships are often designed for operation in a specific sailing area and have to comply with the length and width requirements as well as draft and height restrictions, specific to the region where they operate. For instance, seagoing ships navigating on the Saimaa inland waterways (lake system in Finland) must have ice class.
  • River-sea transport performed by seagoing ships must not be confused with transport operations combining inland and maritime transport, requiring transhipment operations between the two.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT AND COMBINED INLAND AND MARITIME TRANSPORT:

 

  • The strong advantage of river-sea shipping lies in the absence of seaport transhipment. This results in lower transport costs, time-saving (avoiding possible congestion and related delays in a seaport), and a reduced risk of damage to goods resulting from additional transhipment. River-sea shipping is therefore well adapted to carrying fragile goods (such as paper), goods which need to be transported under very strict “non-damage-conditions” (besides paper, also certain metals and metal products), as well as project cargo (oversized and heavy cargo and equipment).
  • Another advantage of this type of transport is found in its unique market range, allowing seagoing ships to connect overseas destinations with locations quite far in the hinterland. Indeed, a wide range of ships of different size and capacity is available, with the newest ships often being characterised by lower draught, allowing them to navigate further in the hinterland. For instance, from the port of Duisburg, some river-sea ships are able to carry project cargo all the way to the Iberian Peninsula and Casablanca without transhipment. In addition, it is an environmentally friendly mode of transport. According to the main actors in the river-sea sector, these environmental considerations and political support towards modal shift to greener modes can therefore positively influence demand for this type of transport.
  • However, as explained above, river-sea ships must be adapted to navigate on IWW, and river-sea shipping is dependent on the state of inland navigation, the related infrastructure and the water levels. The proper development and maintenance of inland waterway infrastructure (in particular ageing of bridges and locks) and the waterways themselves is paramount for the well-functioning of river-sea transport. As is the case for pure inland waterway transport, the lack of predictability (e.g. variation in freight rates) and reliability (delays, variation in water level) of river-sea transport can negatively influence demand for this kind of transport. An important challenge for river-sea shipping therefore lies in its ability to provide transport services all year long and under all weather conditions. In addition, the “just-in-time principle” is hard to maintain with high variations in accessibility of river ports.
  • River-sea ships are also limited in their capacity when navigating on inland waterways, making it difficult for such seagoing ships to realize economies of scale. Moreover, river-sea ships are constructed more heavily and have a smaller displacement volume at similar draft (i.e. a smaller block coefficient) than inland vessels. In addition, river-sea shipping often competes with a combination of maritime and inland waterway transport involving transhipment, in particular when handling rates and inland waterway freight rates are low. River-sea ships are also expensive to build and to operate. For all these reasons, river-sea shipping therefore finds its economic rationale in very specific segments and routes.
  • Additional challenges that river-sea transport is facing have also been identified by the main actors in this market (In particular, members from the EBU river-sea shipping Committee) :
    – Language: English not commonly accepted on all inland waterways.
    – Ageing fleet: about half of the river-sea fleet is more than 25 years old. About one-third of the fleet is less than 15 years old. Indeed, for companies that have not recently invested in their fleet, new fleet investment is generally considered or approved, in particular to renew an ageing fleet, to anticipate a shortage of river-sea ships in light of increasing demand, or to invest in new engines. However, the high costs related to new river-sea ships can be a barrier.
    – General lack of knowledge about river-sea transport.

 

RIVER-SEA GOODS TRANSPORT IN MAIN EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRIES

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

 

Definitions and waterway areas

  • According to definitions by the National Department for Transport, river-sea transport is defined as all seagoing traffic that crosses into inland waters, thereby passing the inland waterways boundary, which is a geographically defined boundary in the estuary region of rivers. The location of this boundary is defined via the average wave height. The boundary itself is a straight line between two points at shore. The exact definition of the UK Department of Transport states that this inland waterway boundary is defined as “the most seaward point of any estuary which might reasonably be bridged or tunnelled [and] this is taken to be where the width of water surface area is both less than 3 km at low water and less than 5 km at high water on spring tides.” (Source: UK Department for Transport (2017), Domestic waterborne freight 2017: notes and definitions)
  • The next four maps cover the four estuary areas in the UK with the highest level of river-sea transport. They show the Inland Waterways Boundary (IWB, in pink) and the most important ports and wharves along the rivers. The blue line shows the so-called Smooth Waterline, which should not be confounded with the IWB. All transport that remains completely within this Smooth Waterline is counted as pure (internal) inland waterway traffic. However, for river-sea-traffic, the IWB is relevant, and all traffic coming from or going to high sea, and crossing the IWB, is counted as river-sea traffic (Source: UK Department for Transport (2017), Domestic waterborne freight 2017: notes and definitions). For the river Thames, the Smooth Waterline lies outside the part of the Thames estuary shown in the map.

 

 

RIVER THAMES WITH INLAND WATERWAY BOUNDARY*, PORTS AND WHARVES FOR RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT

Source: UK Department for Transport / CCNR
*in pink

 

RIVER FORTH WITH INLAND WATERWAY BOUNDARY, PORTS AND WHARVES FOR RIVER-SEA-TRANSPORT

Source: UK Department for Transport / CCNR

 

MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL/RIVER MERSEY WITH INLAND WATERWAY BOUNDARY, PORTS AND WHARVES FOR RIVER-SEA-TRANSPORT

Source: UK Department for Transport / CCNR

 

RIVER HUMBER WITH INLAND WATERWAY BOUNDARY, PORTS AND WHARVES FOR RIVER-SEA-TRANSPORT

Source: UK Department for Transport/CCNR

 

 

Transport by origin and destination

  • In the UK, the amount of cargo transported by river-sea shipping is by far the largest compared to any other western European country. River-sea traffic can be split into three components: foreign traffic (coming from foreign countries or going to foreign countries), coastwise traffic (seagoing traffic between UK seaports and ports inside the Inland Waterway Boundary) and one-port traffic (seagoing traffic between national offshore installations and ports inside the Inland Waterway Boundary). Foreign traffic has by far the largest share within river-sea-traffic in the UK. Its share was between 76% and 80% between 2014 and 2017.

 

 

FIGURE 1: EVOLUTION OF TOTAL RIVER-SEA-TRANSPORT IN THE UK (IN MIO. T)*


Source: UK Department for Transport *represents all seagoing traffic on inland waters according to the definitions of the UK Department for Transport (foreign traffic, coastwise traffic, one-port traffic)

 

  • The overall amount of river-sea traffic shows a clear cyclical pattern. The curve reflects to a large extent the overall business cycle movements in Europe, in particular a falling economic activity after the financial crisis in 2000, followed by a rising tendency in world trade and production between 2003 and 2008, another financial crisis between 2009 and 2013, and another recovery since then.

 

Transport by type of good

  • The product segment with the largest share in river-sea transport is the liquid bulk segment of crude petroleum and petroleum products. In the years 2014-2017, its share fluctuated between 37% and 40%. All kinds of liquid bulk taken together had a share of 43% in 2017.
  • Dry bulk (agricultural products, iron ore, coal, etc.) represented 33% in 2017. Unitised cargo (containers, pallets, etc.) came next with a share of 17%, followed by general cargo (forestry products, iron and steel products and other products) with 7%.

 

 

FIGURE 2: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN THE UK BY TYPE OF GOODS IN 2017

Type of goodsCoastwise (in mio.t)Foreign (in mio.t)One-port (in mio.t)Total (in mio.t)
Liquid Bulk
of which
1.718.90.020.6
Crude petroleum and petroleum products1.417.00.018.4
Dry bulk
of which
2.56.86.415.7
Ores0.20.50.00.7
Coal0.0~0.0~
Agricultural products0.21.70.02.0
Unitised Cargo0.27.80.08.0
General Cargo
of which
0.23.10.03.3
Forestry products0.01.10.01.1
Iron and steel products0.01.20.01.2
Total4.636.66.447.6

Source: UK Department of Transport* unitised cargo = containers, pallets, etc.

 

 

FIGURE 3: EVOLUTION OF RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN THE UK BY TYPE OF GOODS 2014-2017 (IN MIO.T)


Source: UK Department for Transport

 

 

Transport volume by inland waterway

  • The River Thames is in first place in regard to the amount of cargo transported by river-sea transport, with 24.3 million tonnes in 2017. Its river-sea traffic has grown substantially since 2013, and in general, largely determines the trend of the total river-sea traffic in the country, as described in the figure below. In second place comes the River Forth, a broad estuary in the eastern part of Scotland, and in third place the Manchester Ship Canal / River Mersey.

 

 

FIGURE 4: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN THE UK BY INLAND WATERWAY


Source: UK Department for Transport

 

  • Along the Thames, in and around London, several wharves handle both pure inland waterway traffic and seagoing traffic that cross into the River Thames. According to the UK Department for Transport, these wharves are: Barking (London), Croydon (London), Dagenham (London), Erith (London), Greenwich (London), Northfleet (London), Purfleet (London), Silvertown (London), Tilbury (London).(Source: UK Department for Transport (2018), Domestic Waterborne Freight 2017: Notes and Definitions)

 

Outlook and specific developments

  • No specific infrastructure developments have been reported.
    As the UK is often a key trading partner for countries which have river-sea transport, this method of transport may be affected if Brexit leads to a decrease in overall transport volumes (in particular the automotive industry for which steel products are traded). The possible impact of Brexit on customs procedures will also affect river-sea transport.

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN SWEDEN

 

Definitions and waterway areas

  • Sweden currently has two classified inland waterways areas:
    – The Port of Gothenburg, the Göta Alv river and Lake Vänern. The Göta Alv river, in conjunction with the Trollhätte Canal, connects the North Sea with Lake Vänern. Trollhätte Canal has six locks.
    – The Södertälje Canal, Lake Mälaren and parts of the Stockholm area. The Södertalje Canal connects the Baltic Sea with Lake Mälaren. The canal is 3.3 nautical miles long and has one lock. The lock is 135 metres long (it was previously 110 meters long).
  • The Swedish Transport Agency has classified more waterways, such as the Göta Canal (connecting Lake Vänern to the Baltic sea) and inner coastal waterways, but these areas have not yet been ratified by the government.
  • Since the implementation of the European Directive 2016/1629 (Directive (EU) 2016/1629 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, amending Directive 2009/100/EC and repealing Directive 2006/87/EC) laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, no inland waterway transport in Sweden has been recorded. However, as the above-mentioned waterways enable unproblematic river-sea connections between the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the interior of the country, there is a successful integration of river-sea shipping in Sweden.
  • International transport from and to these waterway areas is operated by seagoing ships, which necessarily cross both maritime and inland waterway areas. All international transport operations to and from these waterway areas can therefore be considered as river-sea transport. Similarly, domestic transport operations between ports on the Swedish coast and inland ports located on the above-mentioned waterways can be considered as river-sea transport.
  • The infrastructure – lakes, rivers, canals and inner coastal areas – are regarded as being very good. They have suitable depth and no tide or currents, allowing river-sea transport to be performed by seagoing ships with important tonnage capacity:
    – between 3000 and 4000 tonnes for seagoing ships reaching Lake Vänern through the Trollhäte Canal;
    – up to 9000 tonnes for seagoing ships reaching Lake Mälaren through the Södertälje Canal.

 

 

  • Today, detailed data regarding inland, maritime and river-sea transport are collected by the Swedish government agency for transport policy analysis (TrafikAnalys). However, as data-collection related to inland waterway areas began after 2016 (i.e. after the implementation of Directive 2016/1629), accurate data for river-sea transport are only available for 2017 and 2018. In addition, and for reasons of confidentiality, no detailed data regarding river-sea transport can be published, in particular related to the type of goods, the main trading partners and the ports of loading and unloading.
  • A mirror analysis and available literature however allows the identification of the main goods segments relevant for river-sea transport in Sweden, which are timber/wood products, oil products, crude iron and steel.
  • In the case of Sweden, it will therefore be important to analyse river-sea figures in a few years’ time in order to identify a trend for its river-sea transport, but also to provide more in-depth data if confidentiality concerns are removed.

 

Transport by origin and destination

  • In 2018, 6.62 million tonnes of goods were transported via river-sea transport to, from and within Sweden, of which 3.3 million tonnes consist of imports and 0.93 million tonnes consist of exports. Domestic river-sea transport amounted to 2.4 million tonnes. Between 2017 and 2018, overall river-sea transport in Sweden increased by 5%.

 

FIGURE 5: EVOLUTION OF TOTAL RIVER-SEA-TRANSPORT IN SWEDEN IN 2017 AND 2018 (IN MIO. T)*


Source: TrafikAnalys

INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL CLASSIFICATION RULES

  • Most river-sea traffic is operated by seagoing ships. However, some specific inland vessels can be allowed to make restricted journeys at sea between two ports of the same country provided they comply with specific requirements.
  • Inland vessels can never be allowed to perform international sea journeys, as they do not hold seagoing ship certificates. As most of IMO regulations applicable to seagoing ships are not entirely appropriate to domestic trade along the coastline in restricted maritime areas, the granting of a special certificate allowing inland vessels to navigate at sea is justified.
  • Restricted maritime areas in which inland navigation vessels may be able to operate can be classified for the purpose of suitable requirements consistent with the risk level. This is dependent notably on the severity of the wave and swell, the risk of shipping water, the exposure to strong wind, the distance from shore and refuge and weather conditions. In such areas, inland vessels must be designed to withstand more severe weather conditions than do pure inland vessels. Also, access to maritime areas is given to inland vessels taking into consideration restricted routes and limitations on wave height.
  • In order to be allowed to navigate at sea (in a restricted manner) and obtain the corresponding certificate, such inland vessels must prove that they comply with:
    – classification requirements related mainly to ship design (hull structure, bow height, stability etc.) and equipment requirements established by classification societies and,
    – regulatory requirements set by relevant state administration which may provide complementary requirements (national law, qualification of crew, radio communication, navigation lights, operational conditions etc.)
  • The EU Directive 2016/1629 establishes harmonised conditions for issuing technical certificates for inland waterway vessels in EU inland waterways. However, it also allows Member States to apply stricter technical requirements in certain zones of navigation, in particular zones 1 and 2 – estuaries – where inland vessels may be faced with more difficult conditions of navigation than usual. This Directive does not make it mandatory for Member States to identify such zones 1 and 2 on their territory but lists the subjects for possible additional technical requirements applicable to inland vessels in such zones (in relation to stability, equipment, watertightness etc.). In Belgium (Flanders), some inland vessels are allowed to navigate directly at sea, along the coast (estuary transport). This type of traffic is regulated by a Royal Decree, outside the scope of Directive 2016/1629 (see chapter 3, part 2 below), as no zones 1 or 2 have been defined in Belgium. However, Belgian estuary vessels also need to comply with Directive 2016/1629.
  • Drawing from the information above, a common case of river-sea transport performed by an inland navigation vessel can therefore be described as follows:

  • There is currently no harmonisation in the requirements to be complied with by such inland vessels in order to navigate at sea. The possibility for inland vessels to navigate at sea is also not allowed in several EU countries. Given the differences in treatment of this type of transport in the EU, Directive 2016/1629 calls for greater harmonisation of the conditions for the issuing, by Member States, of supplementary Union inland navigation certificates for operations of inland vessels in zones 1 and 2.
  • For the purposes of this report, the focus will be on the cases of Belgium (Port of Zeebrugge) and France (in the Port du Havre area and Golfe de Fos), where inland vessels navigating “at sea” can be observed, always in compliance with specific national regulations. Such national regulations allowing this type of transport are also applicable in India, Russia, China and Italy.

 

INLAND VESSELS AT SEA: ESTUARY TRAFFIC IN BELGIUM

  • Belgium is the most telling example when studying the case of inland vessels that are allowed to navigate at sea, known in Belgium as estuary transport. Estuary traffic is carried out by estuary vessels, which must hold a certificate provided by a competent Belgian authority, allowing them to navigate at sea under the conditions prescribed in the national and regional regulation. The legal ground is a Royal Decree from 2007 (Koninklijk besluit betreffende binnenschepen die ook voor niet-internationale zeereizen worden gebruikt: http://www.etaamb.be/nl/koninklijk-besluit-van-08-maart-2007_n2007014083.html) which enforces the set of regulations allowing an inland vessel to navigate at sea between Belgian coastal ports. Since the last state reform, which has seen many of these responsibilities move to the regions, Flanders has issued minor changes to this Royal Decree.
  • According to this Decree, estuary vessels must comply with the rules applicable to inland vessels and must be designed in a way that allows them to navigate at sea (sufficient stability, safety requirements). They must, amongst other requirements, comply with MARPOL, without however holding a certificate, COLREG (preventing collisions at sea) and be equipped with sea radar (navigation equipment). Meteorological aspects must also be taken into account before the captain of such an inland vessel can decide whether or not to perform a sea voyage. The recent changes made by the Region of Flanders allow for some simplifications for this category of vessels and less administrative burden for ship owners. This evolution of the Decree also aims at reducing investment costs needed for building estuary vessels which are of lighter build and more cost-effective than seagoing ships that can also sail on the same routes from Zeebrugge to Ghent and Antwerp, as well as further upstream. With the evolvement of safety technologies, it is possible that the Decree further evolves in the future.
  • Almost all estuary traffic in Flanders departs from or arrives at the maritime port of Zeebrugge towards or from the port of Antwerp and the North Sea Port (North Sea Port is the name of the port formed by the cross-border merger between Zeeland Seaports (Flushing, Borsele and Terneuzen) in the Netherlands and Ghent Port Company in Belgium, signed on 8 December 2017) and dedicated inland container terminals.

 

Source: Based on https://www.binnenvaart.be/images/kaarten-CEMT/index.html

 

  • Belgium is the country in western Europe where the highest volumes of goods are transported via estuary transport. In 2018, 2.1 million tonnes of goods were transported via estuary traffic at the port of Zeebrugge, of which 58% were liquid bulk, 41% container and 1% ro/ro. Overall, estuary traffic represents 5.2% of maritime traffic registered at the port of Zeebrugge (Source: 2018 annual report Port of Zeebrugge, https://portofzeebrugge.be/sites/default/files/2019-05/jaarverslag%202018.pdf). Overall, 1047 estuary vessels called at the port of Zeebrugge in 2018 (+ 47 compared to 2017).
  • The estuary fleet in Belgium is composed of 13 vessels in total, 9 tankers, 1 Ro-Ro cargo and 3 container carriers. Some are certified according to the prescriptions of the Belgium Royal Decree of 2007, and some obtained a certificate under a previous regime. The Belgian estuary fleet is quite recent, with the majority of the fleet being 15 years old or less.

 

TABLE 10: BELGIAN ESTUARY FLEET – BUILDING DATE, AGE AND TYPE OF VESSELS

Vessels’ name(s)*Built inAgeType of vessels
Presto200316Motor tanker
Polybotes200415Ro-Ro cargo ship
Tanzanite, Texas200415Motor tanker
Breitling200514Motor tanker
New Jersey200613Motor tanker
Amberes, Deseo, Tripoli200712Container vessel
Inventory, Montana, Mozart20118Motor tanker

*Until 12 November 2018, another motor tanker was also in operation, the Zeebrugge, built in 1971. However, its certificate was not extended after this date.

  • The Ro-Ro cargo ship “Polybotes” is generally used for the spot market. It is also able to answer to the strong market demand for “high & heavy” cargoes, as it can transport extremely heavy one-piece parts of up to 60m in length, such as wind turbines, industrial transformers, tanks for liquids and yachts. The three container estuary vessels are primarily used to facilitate the connection with Antwerp. They follow a fixed rotational scheme which takes them to Antwerp three times a week. It takes eight hours to reach Antwerp from Zeebrugge, while it would take one and a half days if a conventional inland navigation route along canals was used. These three ships together have a capacity of 800 TEU per day and carry 160,000 TEU per year. These estuary vessels also allow to connect with several shortsea routes, in particular with the Baltic network (Source: Connect, Annual magazine of the port of Zeebrugge, 2019, https://portofzeebrugge.be/sites/default/files/2018-09/MBZ_Connect_2018_EN_web.pdf). Four of these estuary vessels call at North Sea Port, making approximately 75 voyages to and from the North Sea Port each year, carrying mainly containers and cars.

 

INLAND VESSELS AT SEA IN FRANCE

  • In France, some inland vessels are also allowed to operate alongside the coastline in domestic maritime areas (zone 1), beyond the “transverse limit of the sea”, subject to restricted requirements prescribed by a national regulation (Arrêté du 2 octobre 2018 relatif au classement des zones de navigation des bateaux de commerce, des bateaux de plaisance et engins flottants et aux compléments ou allégements des prescriptions techniques applicables sur certaines de ces zones de navigation : https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037469594&fastPos=1&fastReqId=1502111262&categorieLien=cid&oldAction=rechTexte), adopted in October 2018, in accordance with Directive 2016/1629. According to this national regulation, exclusive navigation on such zones 1 by inland navigation vessels is forbidden. However, there are seven different pre-identified routes where inland navigation vessels can be allowed to navigate at sea (both for goods and passenger transport). The requirements to be met by inland vessels also vary depending on the relevant route. For goods transport, this type of traffic takes place mainly in two areas: the Port du Havre area in the Seine estuary and the Golfe de Fos. This approach implies having well-defined zones of navigation and “transverse limits of the sea”.
  • It is worth noting that before the adoption of the above-mentioned regulation, inland vessels navigating to Port 2000 (Port du Havre) were subject to a dedicated decree, outside the scope of application of Directive 2016/1629 (Arrêté du 15 décembre 2014 relatif à la navigation de bateaux porte-conteneurs fluviaux en mer pour la desserte de Port 2000 et des quais en Seine à Honfleur : https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000029958156&categorieLien=id) (as the example of the Belgian regulation).
  • In France, even if inland vessels comply with the necessary requirements to navigate in the identified maritime area, their ability to do so is also conditional upon meteorological and sea conditions at the time the vessels are set to navigate at sea. Other conditions that need to be met are their foreseeable evolution during the journey time, the securement of an authorisation from the competent port police authority to enter or leave a port located on one of the pre-identified routes, and compliance with applicable local pilot regulations. Finally, it is the responsibility of the inland vessel operator to ensure safe navigation.
  • This solution is particularly relevant when connections between inland waterway systems and maritime ports is insufficient. However, this solution is also dependent upon meteorological conditions, which may hinder its reliability. Where no direct inland access is available, the existence of a route involving transhipment can therefore be a useful complement to connect inland waterways with such maritime ports.

 

Port of Le Havre

  • Currently, there is no direct inland access between the Seine and the Port of Le Havre (Port 2000) for inland container vessels. Inland vessels adapted to navigate at sea are therefore the only direct way (without transhipment) to reach the container terminal.

Source: Figure based on Vantorre, M., Eloot, K., and Geerts, S. Paper 25 – Inland vessels at sea: a useful contradiction to solve missing links in waterway systems. Proceedings PIANC – SMART Rivers Conference 2013 (Editors: Rigo, P., Wolters, M.). Liège/Maastricht, 23-27 September 2013 and https://www.haropaports.com/fr/havre/concertation-aafp2000

 

  • There are currently eight inland vessels allowed to navigate at sea in the port of Le Havre area:
    – six container inland vessels (Oural, Bosphore, Euroports, Arc-en-Ciel, Pythagore and Smack) amounting to 137,500 TEU in 2016;
    – two bunker vessels (the New-York carrying heavy fuel and the New-Jersey carrying gasoil).
  • A co-funding of 25 million euros for the realisation of the project aiming at creating a direct inland access to Port 2000, and therefore allowing any type of inland vessel to access the Port, was agreed upon in March 2019. It is therefore possible that river-sea traffic in this region decreases once this project is finalised.

 

Golfe de Fos area

  • In the Golfe de Fos area, existing river routes connecting the river Rhône with Martigues and the “Etang de Berre”, are currently long journeys that are only accessible by small inland vessels. However, an alternative sea trajectory through the Golfe de Fos is also possible. Given the recent modification of the French national regulation, very few vessels use the sea trajectory alternative, although it may be used more in the future if there is a sufficient business case for it.

 

Source: Direct access to maritime ports by adapted inland waterway vessels. PIANC Report No. 118, Maritime Navigation Commission & Inland Navigation Commission Expert Group, 2013

 

  • The possibility for inland vessels to navigate at sea is also very relevant in the context of passenger transport, allowing operators to offer new cruises. This is, for instance, the case of the French company CroisiEurope which offers cruises on the Loire, where the inland cruise vessel must navigate on a short sea stretch to reach Saint-Nazaire. With the adoption of the above-mentioned new French regulation, CroisiEurope will now be able to propose new cruises on the Gironde up to Royan, crossing maritime domestic waters. Allowing inland vessels to navigate at sea can therefore represent an important business opportunity, also in the passenger transport sector.

 

INLAND VESSELS “AT SEA”: OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE?

  • Inland vessels at sea can become relevant whenever a maritime/coastal port is not sufficiently connected to the inland waterway network, insofar as there is an underlying economic rationale (in other words, if this solution is less expensive than a multimodal option involving transhipment). Only then can this type of transport develop in a given area.
  • It is worth noting that pilot cases for this kind of transport have been elaborated. For instance, in Germany, a special solution for river-sea transport was developed to connect the Jade-Weser-Port to the river Weser. Indeed, the hinterland accessibility of this port is currently limited to trains and trucks as there is no direct access for inland vessels. Conventional sea-going inland ships are not competitive at the given bridge heights and water depths connecting the Jade-Weser-Port to the river Weser. Therefore, a need for a completely new ship design which is seaworthy and which at the same time can be used efficiently on the inland waterways was identified, leading to the German joint research project BiWi (“Schlussbericht zum Teilvorhaben Entwicklung und Optimierung eines seegehenden Binnenschiffsleichters” – Friedhoff, B. et al.; DST-Report 2081; Duisburg, 2016). In this context, a solution was developed based on the pusher-barge principle with a special hydraulic coupling. At sea, suitable pushing vessels or tugs will be used to propel a sea-going barge. In inland navigation, a conventional canal pushing vessel is used and, ideally, pushes several barges at the same time. The concept was successfully tested with scale models up to significant wave heights of 2.5 metres.
  • Although the concept has not yet been expanded upon due to subsequent discussions about the possible creation of a direct inland access, the development of such a transport concept connecting seaports to inland waterways could be possible in other areas.
  • In Sweden, several projects involving inland vessels at sea are also in the pipeline. For instance, on the west coast of Sweden, the petroleum-company Preem would like to transport petrol and diesel on barge-vessels from their coastal refinery in Lysekil down to Gothenburg and up via the Göta Älv river to the town of Karlstad on the northern part of Lake Vänern. The company sees extensive opportunities for a sustainable transport-flow and great environmental and climate advantages. Avatar Logistics is the partner responsible for the logistical solution and the barge-vessel concept.
  • In May 2020 the Port of Stockholm will inaugurate its new major port Norvik outside the coastal town of Nynäshamn. The traffic between Nynäshamn and Stockholm is dense and the infrastructure with road and rail not fully adequate. A great deal of interest has been shown for a barge-container-shuttle between Norvik and the Södertälje Canal up to the Lake Mälaren and the western parts of the Stockholm area. Avatar Logistics and the four ports in the region are ready to meet the challenges and are discussing barge-logistic concepts.
  • The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR), in partnership with the European Commission, publishes annual and biannual reports dealing with the European inland navigation market. From 2020 onwards, thematic reports will also be published once a year. This thematic report on river-sea transport is the first in a series.
  • No dedicated report providing detailed data on river-sea transport is currently available, hence the decision to dedicate a report to this specific topic, with the objective to improve knowledge and information about river-sea transport in Europe. As only few statistics on river-sea passenger transport are available, this report focuses on river-sea goods transport.
  • River-sea transport consists in a transport operation partly by inland waterways and partly by sea, without transhipment. River-sea transport must therefore not be confused with transport operations combining inland and maritime transport and requiring transhipment operations between the two. River-sea transport can be performed by a seagoing ship or an inland vessel. These two general cases of river-sea transport activities should be distinguished and are analysed separately in the report.

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT PERFORMED BY A SEAGOING SHIP

  • In most of the cases, river-sea transport (or lake-sea transport in Sweden and Finland) is performed by small seagoing vessels (also known as river-sea ships), which have an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number) and are able to navigate both on certain stretches of inland waterways and at sea. This case represents the large majority of all river-sea transport volumes in Europe. A typical river-sea transport operation might start in an inland port (e.g. Duisburg), continue on a river (Rhine), pass a seaport (Rotterdam) without transhipment, continue on maritime waters (the North Sea) and end in a seaport or in an inland port of another country (e.g. in London, United Kingdom).
  • River-sea ships must comply with technical and regulatory requirements in force in both sea and inland waterway areas. On the river Rhine, additional Rhine related requirements apply. In terms of environmental requirements, they are only subject to those applicable to seagoing ships. Beyond such requirements, conditions for river-sea shipping also vary between countries and greatly depend on the geographical situation, the sailing area, the waterways infrastructure and weather conditions. River-sea ships are therefore generally designed for operating in a specific sailing area.
  • The clear advantage of river-sea shipping lies in the absence of seaport transhipment, which results in lower transport costs, time-saving and a reduced risk of damage to goods, as well as its unique market range. While the versatility of river-sea shipping is an advantage, it is also a drawback, compared to maritime shipping, as its good functioning also depends on the navigation conditions on inland waterways. An important challenge for river-sea shipping therefore lies in its ability to provide transport services all year round and under all weather conditions. In addition, river-sea ships are limited in their capacity, compared to “pure” seagoing ships, of being able to navigate on inland waterways, making it more difficult for river-sea ships to realise economies of scale.
  • At present, almost 90.5 million tonnes of goods are transported via river-sea transport in Europe. River-sea transport takes place on all major rivers in Europe that have a connection to the open sea.
  • The country with the most important volume of river-sea transport in Europe is the United Kingdom (around 47 million tonnes). London, the River Thames, as well as the estuary of the river Humber in north east England, the River Forth in Scotland, and other estuaries are important areas of river-sea activity. Overall, river-sea transport has shown a growing trend in recent years in the United Kingdom.
  • Russia and Ukraine are two countries with a significant level of river-sea transport, due to very favourable natural conditions. In 2018, around 25 million tonnes of cargo were transported by river-sea ships in Russia, making it the second largest market for this type of transport in Europe.
  • River-sea transport is also well developed in Sweden and Finland, taking the form of lake-sea transport, where lakes (Lake Vänern and Lake Mälaren in Sweden, and Lake Saimaa in Finland) represent the inland component of the activity. The main product groups traded are wood products and timber.
  • In western Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France), river-sea transport concentrates mainly on the following areas: the Lower Rhine, the Lower Schelde, the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, the Maas, the Albert Canal, the Seine and the Rhône.
  • The Lower Rhine is the nerve centre for river-sea transport in Germany, and a major area for the Netherlands. Steel is the most important segment for river-sea transport in the region, due to the steel industry in Duisburg, which uses the Rhine as an export route for iron, steel, metals and metal products. A large part of these exports goes to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.
  • Steel-related products also constitute the main goods segment transported via river-sea in Belgium and in the Netherlands. Indeed, steel products are exported from the Belgian port of Ghent mainly towards the UK through the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, the Schelde estuary and the North Sea. This activity represents a cross-border transport in a multiple sense: export from Belgium via Dutch territory (Terneuzen, Schelde estuary) and the North Sea to the UK.
  • Steel-related products and raw materials (ores, scrap metal and metal products) also have the highest share within total river-sea transport in France. As in Germany, exports have around a two-thirds share within the total river-sea transport volume in France. Unlike Germany, the French river-sea routes are mainly linked to countries along the Mediterranean Sea (Turkey, north Africa).
  • In south-eastern Europe, the Lower Danube offers good natural conditions for river-sea transport. River-sea traffic registered in the three Romanian river-sea ports of Galati, Braila and Tulcea, has been quite stable since 2012. Iron and steel related products, as well as raw materials and agricultural products, are the most important goods segments for river-sea transport in Romania.

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT PERFORMED BY AN INLAND VESSEL

  • There are also specific areas in Europe where inland vessels are able to make restricted journeys at sea between two ports of the same country, provided they hold an appropriate authorisation. This authorisation can be obtained subject to compliance with classification and regulatory requirements, which are not harmonised at EU level. This option can be particularly relevant whenever a maritime/coastal port is not sufficiently connected to the inland waterway network, insofar as there is an underlying economic rationale. However, it is currently not permitted in several EU countries.
  • This type of transport can, for instance, be found in Belgium (known as estuary traffic), where a limited sea trajectory has to be performed by an inland vessel to connect the Port of Zeebrugge to the European inland navigation network (mainly through the North Sea Port and the Port of Antwerp). Estuary goods traffic registered at the Port of Zeebrugge amounted to 2.1 million tonnes in 2018.
  • In France, some inland navigation vessels are also authorised to operate alongside the coastline in domestic maritime areas in order to connect the container terminal of the Port of Le Havre (Port 2000) to the river Seine. This possibility has recently been extended to other areas in France following the adoption of a national regulation in October 2018, with requirements having to be met by inland vessels to obtain the appropriate authorisation depending on the relevant route.

DEFINITIONS, TERMINOLOGY AND SCOPE OF THE REPORT

  • According to the Eurostat Reference Manual of Inland Waterways Transport Statistics (Eurostat, Reference Manual of Inland Waterway transport Statistics, Version 9.1 April 2018, sections 4.1.6 and 5.2: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/29567/3217334/Inland+waterways-Reference+Manual-v9.1-April+2018.pdf), “fluvio-maritime transport” consists in “a transport operation partly by inland waterways (IWW) and partly by sea, without transhipment. It can be operated by inland waterway vessels or seagoing ships. Any inland waterway vessel undertaking such transport will need to have the appropriate authorisation permitting it to operate at sea.” The same definition is proposed in the 5th edition of the Glossary for transport statistics (Glossary for transport statistics 5th Edition 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3859598/10013293/KS-GQ-19-004-EN-N.pdf/b89e58d3-72ca-49e0-a353-b4ea0dc8988f), where an alternative terminology is also used: sea-river transport. The term river-sea transport is also commonly used (E.g. EMMA project Strengthening inland navigation and river-sea-shipping in Europe and the Baltic sea region). Finally, in Sweden and Finland, this type of transport is referred to as lake-sea shipping. For the purpose of this report, the terminology “river-sea transport” will be used.
  • Based on this definition, two types of river-sea transport will be analysed in this report:
    – River-sea transport performed by seagoing ships adapted to navigate on inland waterways (river-sea ships) (see chapter 2).
    – River-sea transport performed by an inland vessel adapted to navigate at sea up to a certain point at sea (Also known as fluvio-maritime or sea-river vessels in the Glossary for transport statistics 5th Edition 2019). The specific case of Belgium and France will be addressed in this report (see chapter 3). In Belgium, the term estuary vessels/traffic is used to refer to this specific case.
  • The objective of this report will be to improve knowledge and information about river-sea transport in Europe. It is worth noting that river-sea transport was also addressed in the 2013 annual market observation report (Pages 81-93: https://ccr-zkr.org/files/documents/om/om13_en.pdf). In addition, a workshop with the main actors for the river-sea transport sector was organised in September 2019 to gain some additional insights into the river-sea market in Europe. All the presentations made during this workshop are available in English on the CCNR website: https://www.ccr-zkr.org/13020153-en.html.

 

METHODOLOGY AND DATA REPORTING AT EU LEVEL

  • As there are few statistics on river-sea passenger transport in Europe, this report will focus on river-sea goods transport. There is no harmonised data reporting in place at EU level on this and Eurostat does not have a dedicated data collection for river-sea transport.
  • Therefore, data in this report were mainly gathered directly from national statistical offices, other national statistical sources and stakeholders. These national offices partly apply different methodologies for data collection, resulting in some river-sea transport that is reported in maritime statistics or in IWW statistics or both. However, given the low volumes of river-sea traffic compared to total maritime or IWW transport volumes, double counting (i.e. reporting statistics on both the maritime and IWW database) is tolerated. In addition, the definition of river-sea transport from a statistical point of view may also vary between Member States.
  • The example of the Kiel Canal, which connects the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel through Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany, is relevant in that regard as it will appear in both maritime and IWW sets of statistics.
  • Indeed, in German statistics, the Kiel Canal is registered as an IWW and a maritime waterway. Transport from one end of the Kiel Canal (Kiel or Brunsbüttel) to a maritime port, for instance in Lithuania (Klaipeda) or in the Netherlands (Rotterdam), transit through the Kiel Canal and transport from one port on the Kiel Canal to another maritime port outside the Kiel Canal will be recorded as maritime transport. However, this last case could be considered as river-sea transport if the definition from the Eurostat Reference Manual of Inland Waterways Transport Statistics is applied.
  • The methodology for reporting river-sea transport statistics was discussed at several maritime and IWW working group meetings within Eurostat.
  • Initially, Eurostat recommended national statistical offices to report on river-sea transport according to “type of water”. In other words, if transport takes place on IWW it should be reported in the IWW statistics and if transport takes place on maritime waters it should be reported in the maritime statistics.
  • In the Reference Manual on Inland Waterways Transport Statistics, Eurostat recommends reporting river-sea transport depending on the “type of vessel”, in other words, if river-sea transport is performed:
    1. by an inland vessel, it should be reported in the IWW statistics and not the maritime statistics;
    2. by a seagoing ship, it should be reported in the maritime statistics and not the IWW statistics.
  • However, if information regarding the type of vessel is unavailable, related information (such as port of loading/ unloading) could be used to determine whether river-sea transport is likely to be carried out by IWW vessels or seagoing ships.
  • If necessary, and in order to compile relevant and coherent IWW statistics at national level, specific cases of river-sea transport performed by seagoing ships could be included in both the maritime and the IWW data reported to Eurostat. However, any such deviations from the main recommendations in points 1 and 2 should be clearly communicated to Eurostat in order to be specified in the metadata of the IWW statistics. Today, some objections to these proposed recommendations still exist. For instance, if this methodology was applied in France, most of river-sea transport would be recorded in the maritime statistics.
  • It is worth highlighting that most of the statistical data analysed in this report relate to situations where river-sea transport is performed by seagoing ships. Indeed, there is less statistical data available regarding inland vessels at sea as there are only a few places where seagoing inland vessels are in operation, which are mentioned in this report and for which available data are presented.
  • As consistent data is not available at EU level, data were collected from national statistics, and a country-by-country analysis has therefore been made in this report. The methodology applied to calculate river-sea goods transport per country is explained in each relevant chapter. The degree of comparability of the results analysed in this report might be slightly impacted by such discrepancies.
  • Finally, for several countries analysed in this report, statistics are derived from inland navigation databases, which shows that the practice applied in some national statistical offices include river-sea-transport as part of inland waterway transport (IWT).

• Inland waterway transport on German waterways accounted for 36 % of all IWW transport performance in the EU in Q1 2019, compared to 35 % in the year 2018. For container traffic taken separately, this share is 39 %.
• The number of German IWT companies represents 11 % of all IWT companies in the EU, while their share in turnover is much higher: 34 % of all turnover generated in IWW goods transport companies in the EU is produced in German companies.
• This also shows that German companies are on average larger than in many other IWW countries with a high degree of market fragmentation.

 

THE 40 LARGEST GERMAN INLAND PORTS – WATERSIDE TRAFFIC IN Q1 2019

(These 40 inland ports accounted for 74.6 % of all waterside goods traffic in German inland ports in Q1 2019. Detailed information on the 40 largest German inland ports is available on the next page).

Source: Destatis

 
 
Waterside traffic in million tonnes in Q1 2019

Inland portImport from abroadImport from national originsExport to national destinationsExport abroadTotal waterside traffic
Duisburg9.170.380.881.9912.4
Hamburg0.001.081.410.012.5
Mannheim1.330.270.260.472.3
Cologne0.640.450.420.802.3
Neuss1.130.290.210.482.1
Karlsruhe0.690.130.500.431.8
Ludwigshafen am Rhein0.680.440.150.401.7
Frankfurt am Main0.610.270.240.231.3
Gelsenkirchen0.270.150.320.501.2
Kehl0.330.290.230.151.0
Mainz0.370.230.070.260.9
Kiesbaggereien Kreis Wesel0.000.410.030.480.9
Marl0.520.150.050.190.9
Bottrop0.460.030.130.250.9
Hamm0.550.230.020.070.9
Krefeld0.350.230.090.190.9
Brunsbüttel0.000.030.800.000.8
Lünen0.590.080.020.130.8
Bremen0.020.570.140.050.8
Saarlouis0.450.000.030.200.7
Andernach0.100.100.030.450.7
Salzgitter0.020.410.230.010.7
Heilbronn0.240.110.280.040.7
Leverkusen0.330.120.090.070.6
Rheinberg0.470.000.040.090.6
Lingen (Ems)0.100.110.280.090.6
Magdeburg0.020.280.160.110.6
Wesseling0.010.050.260.220.5
Wesel0.160.080.070.220.5
Dormagen0.140.020.180.160.5
Bendorf0.150.100.070.180.5
Berlin0.020.330.120.000.5
Dörpen0.140.240.050.040.5
Kleve0.250.000.050.140.4
Hanau0.150.090.050.140.4
Düsseldorf0.220.020.030.150.4
Emden0.140.020.200.040.4
Brake (Unterweser)0.000.010.350.010.4
Germersheim0.130.020.030.190.4
Essen0.210.070.080.000.4  

 

FACT SHEET IWT IN GERMANY

Source: CCNR analysis based on Eurostat data [sbs_na_1a_se_r2]. [iww_go_atygo]. [iww_go_actygo]. [tran_hv_frmod]. [iww_eq_loadcap]. [road_go_ta_tcrg]. [rail_go_contwgt]. [iww_eq_age]. CCNR fleet database

Notes on the factsheet:

1) “Share in EU total” contains figures for the EU plus Switzerland and Serbia.

2) For container transport, the numbers include the weight of container boxes, according to the Eurostat Reference Manual on Inland Waterways Transport Statistics (See: https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/b1c81773-ce2b-47cd-ad43-a0fbfe395402/Reference_Manual_April_2018_.pdf).

# In contrast to transport performance, for transport volume a country-specific share cannot be calculated. Example: when iron ores are transported from Rotterdam to Duisburg, the tonnes transported are counted in the statistics of both countries, while the tonne-kilometres (tkm) are split up between both countries according to the distance (km) travelled in each country. This allows the country-specific share for transport performance (tkm) to be calculated. For transport volumes (tonnes) the share cannot be calculated, as the sum of the shares of all countries would exceed 100 %.

 

 

The data on all transport indicators are for 2018, while the data on modal split, employment, turnover, companies and number of vessels are for 2017. The modal split share of IWT is calculated as the IWT share within the total transport performance of IWT, rail and road traffic.

 

 
 

IWT SECTOR IN GERMANY WITHIN EUROPE

  • Inland vessels carried 197.9 million tonnes of goods in 2018 and 222.7 million tonnes in 2017 on German inland waterways. In 2018, the transport performance (product of tonnes and distance) represented 35 % of total IWT transport performance in the EU.
  • Within container transport, IWT transport performance in Germany has a share of 39 % of total container transport performance in the EU.
  • In addition to container transport, the liquid cargo transport in Germany also has an over-proportional transport performance in the EU. Mineral oil products and chemical transports in Germany each have a share of 38 % of total European transport performance in these two segments.
  • Around 10.3 thousand persons are employed in German IWT companies and the companies generate a turnover of more than 2.2 billion euros per year.
  • With 10.3 thousand persons employed Germany’s share in EU employment in the IWT sector is 24 % which means that almost one out of four persons active in European IWT companies works in German IWT companies.
  • German IWT companies are larger than the EU average according to two size indicators:
    1) Their share in the total number of EU IWT companies is 11 % but the share of persons active in these German companies is 24 % of all EU employment in IWT.
    2) The share of German companies in the number of IWT companies in the EU is 11 % but they generate 30 % of turnover of European IWT.
  • The fleet of German inland vessels represents 16 % of all European inland vessels. For liquid cargo vessels taken separately this share is 25 % – one out of four tanker vessels registered in Europe is registered in Germany.

 

PORT OF DUISBURG AND PORT OF HAMBURG

  • Duisburg is the largest inland port in Germany as well as in Europe with 48.1 million tonnes of river traffic in 2018. Its river traffic takes place in the public port of Duisburg (duisport GmbH) and in private ports of the local steel industry. The following figure takes into account all waterside traffic in the city of Duisburg. Raw materials (iron ore, coal) for steel production and iron and steel represent a share of 70 %. In 2018 waterside traffic was 48.1 million tonnes and 12.4 million tonnes in Q1 2019, just as in Q1 2018.

 

FIGURE 1: INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE PORT OF DUISBURG (JANUARY UNTIL MAY) IN MILLION TONNES

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

  • The port of Hamburg is not only the largest German seaport but also the second largest German inland port. Its waterside traffic in 2018 amounted to 10 million tonnes (source: Destatis) and 2.5 million tonnes in Q1 2019 (2.3 million tonnes in Q1 2018). Liquid cargo is currently the most important type of goods in Hamburg, while container traffic so far plays a relatively small role in the Elbe hinterland compared to the Rhine.

 

FIGURE 2:INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE PORTS OF HAMBURG (JANUARY UNTIL MAY) IN MILLION TONNES

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

• With water levels normalising in Q1 2019 and in Q2 2019, inland vessels once again reached higher loading degrees, which in turn had a strong effect on transport prices: transport prices fell, especially on the spot market for deliveries from the ARA region to destinations in the Rhine hinterland (Germany, France, Switzerland).
• Due to falling transport prices in Q1 2019, official statistics on the turnover in IWW goods transport in the Netherlands and in Germany show that turnover decreased in both countries. In Q2 2019, turnover continued to decrease in Germany, while it increased again in the Netherlands.

 

WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’LOADING DEGREES IN THE RHINE BASIN

 

 
 
 

FIGURE 1: MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE RHINE (%)

Source: CCNR calculation based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity

 

  • At the beginning of the year 2019, water levels on the Rhine normalised, allowing inland vessels to reach rather high loading degree values again. The two gauging stations of Kaub and Oestrich at the Middle Rhine showed slightly more difficult navigation conditions than Maxau on the Upper Rhine and Duisburg on the Lower Rhine.
  • The correlation between water levels and goods transport on the Rhine remained intact, as shown by the fact that the rising water levels in Q1 2019 were followed by an increase in goods transport.

 

FIGURE 2: QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE RHINE AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES AT KAUB/RHINE

Source: Destatis and CCNR Calculation based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity


 

WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN THE DANUBE BASIN

 
 
 

FIGURE 3 : MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE DANUBE (IN %)

Source: CCNR calculation based on hydrological data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity, and the Federal State of Lower Austria

  • Within the Danube basin, the differences in hydraulicity conditions between the Austrian and the German Danube remained intact in 2019. While navigating conditions were recovering quickly in Kienstock and Wildungsmauer, both located in Lower Austria, they continued to be quite volatile and less favourable on the German Danube in Lower Bavaria.

 

FIGURE 4 : QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT IN AUSTRIA AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN WILDUNGSMAUER, LOWER AUSTRIA

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave] and CCNR calculation based on hydrological data from the Federal State of Lower Austria


 

FREIGHT RATES IN THE RHINE BASIN

FIGURE 5 : CBS FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR INLAND NAVIGATION IN THE NETHERLANDS

Source: CBS (Netherlands)

 

  • The CBS conducts regular surveys among 80 Dutch IWW companies, eight times per year. The revenue of a company determines the influence it has on the price index. According to this index, dry bulk sport market freight rates fell in the first half of 2019, more or less in parallel with normalising water levels on the Rhine.
  • The liquid bulk prices of the CBS index cover freight traffic on the Rhine, but also shorter trips within the ARA area (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) and other locations within the Netherlands. It contains spot market rates as well as (long-term) contract rates, and the delivery of all types of liquid bulk (chemicals, diesel, fuel oil, methanol, naphta, sunflower oil, etc).
  • Another freight rate index is the liquid bulk PJK index (PJK International / Insight Global is a market research company in Breda, the Netherlands, specialised in the liquid cargo sector), which is a spot market index based on the transport of oil products from the ARA region via the Rhine to destinations in Germany, France and Switzerland. Its spot market and its ARA-Rhine trade character make it quite volatile.
  • Within the PJK index, freight rates fell strongly in December 2018 and at the beginning of the year 2019 and settled at a lower level in Q1 and Q2 2019. However, as is the case for the CBS liquid bulk index part, the price level did not fall back completely.

 

FIGURE 6: PJK FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR LIQUID CARGO (GASOIL) FROM THE ARA REGION TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE RHINE – COMPARED WITH VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES AT MAXAU/UPPER RHINE

Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International
*The freight rate index was calculated on the basis of the price per tonne of liquid cargo transport. Index values show the price in a given month in relation to the average price in the year 2015.



 

  • A detailed look at the PJK index (per destination along the Rhine) reveals that the Swiss destination (Basel) showed by far the strongest price increase during the low water period in late 2018. In 2019, however, the freight rate level for deliveries to Basel fell very strongly. When water levels normalised, the reduction of the freight rate level for deliveries to lower Rhine destinations (Duisburg, Cologne) and to Ruhr destinations (Dortmund) was relatively inferior than for Basel.

 

FIGURE 7: PJK FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR LIQUID CARGO (GASOIL) FROM THE ARA REGION TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE RHINE – INDEX VALUES PER DESTINATION

Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International

 

QUARTERLY IWT TURNOVER EVOLUTION PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE

Quarterly data on turnover in IWT are at present only available for very few countries, due to statistical limitations. EUROSTAT presents data 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 almost no activity in maritime shipping. For France, Germany and the Netherlands, quarterly turnover data are provided by the national statistical offices (INSEE, Destatis, CBS).

FIGURE 8: TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN GERMANY – MAINLY GOODS TRANSPORT* (2015=100)

Source: CBS, Destatis
*For the Netherlands, the series contains turnover from total IWT, but goods transport has a very high share of 92 %; for Germany, the series contains only turnover from goods transport.

 

  • Both in the Netherlands and in Germany, turnover from freight transport reached a certain peak in the fourth quarter of 2018. This was a consequence of very high freight rates due to the low water period, notably on the Rhine. With prices decreasing in the first half year 2019, turnover normalised in Germany, while it remained rather high in the Netherlands, reflecting a more positive transport demand evolution in the Netherlands than in Germany.
  • Turnover of Austrian, French and German passenger shipping companies showed the usual seasonal variations. In Q2 2019, turnover of French passenger transport companies was 8 % higher than in Q2 2018, and 16 % higher than in Q2 2017.
  • For German passenger transport companies, the result in Q2 2019 was 1 % lower than the previous year, but 4 % higher than in Q2 2017. The turnover of Austrian IWW companies, the majority of which are linked to passenger transport, was 13 % higher in Q2 2019 than the previous year and 6 % higher than in Q2 2017.

 

FIGURE 9: TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA, FRANCE AND GERMANY – MAINLY PASSENGER TRANSPORT*(2015=100)

Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q] for Austria, Destatis for Germany and INSEE for France
* For Austria, the series contain turnover from total IWT, but the sector activity is dominated by passenger transport; for Germany and France, the data contain only turnover in passenger transport.

• Transport performance on inland waterways in the European Union in Q1 2019 recovered from the low water period in the second half of 2018. Indeed, with a value of 37.5 billion tonne-kilometres in Q1 2019, transport performance was 30 % higher than in Q4 2018, a period during which the Rhine, the Danube and the Elbe suffered heavily from low waters.
• Among the three countries with the highest IWW transport performance in the EU (Germany, the Netherlands, Romania) in Q1 2019, the growth rate in Q1 2019 compared to Q4 2018 was the highest in Germany (+62 %), which was mainly a result of the resumption of transports on the Rhine on a large scale.
• The EU IWW transport performance in Q1 2019 was also 5.5 % higher compared to the same quarter one year earlier (Q1 2018).

 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN IWT ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY IN EUROPE – COMPARISON BETWEEN Q1 2018 AND Q1 2019 (TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN MILLION TKM)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD, Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Service Public de Wallonie

 

 
 

FIGURE 1: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (IWT) PERFORMANCE ON THE RHINE, RHINE AFFLUENTS*, DANUBE**, BELGIAN AND DUTCH WATERWAYS (TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN MILLION TKM)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD, Destatis, Stat.Bel, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Public Service Public de Wallonie
* Traditional Rhine = Rhine from Basel to the German-Dutch border. Rhine affluents: Main, Moselle, Neckar, Saar
** Danube = Transport performance in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria

  • Goods transport on Dutch inland waterways, the traditional Rhine and the Danube recovered from the low water period in the second half of 2018. On the Rhine, dry mass cargo made the strongest upward bound, as its transport performance was 3.9 % higher in Q1 2019 than in Q1 2018. It is possible that Q1 2019 dry and liquid cargo volumes also include the backlog volumes which were originally to be shipped in Q4 2018, thus contributing to this strong increase.

 

FIGURE 2: GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE PER CARGO SEGMENT AND QUARTER (IN MILLION TONNES)

Source: Destatis. Break bulk cargo or general cargo are goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk.

     

  • An exception from the recovery is container transport. Its performance on the traditional Rhine was still 11 % lower in Q1 2019 than in Q1 2018. Two main explanations can be found for this phenomenon:
    1) First, according to some main logistics operators, shippers are currently more reluctant to choose inland waterways for container transport than they had been before the low water crisis (Information by Danser France, Haeger & Schmidt Logistics, Contargo AG).
    Indeed, compared to the dry and liquid mass cargo transport, where inland waterway transport is often the only possible mode of transport, containers can also be delivered by rail or road. This is also shown by the evolution of waterside container traffic in the Swiss Rhine ports. In the first half year 2018, a modal shift from rail to IWT had taken place due to the effects of the Rastatt accident (interruption of railway line on the Rhine axis). However, the low water period in the second half of 2018 led again to a modal shift, but this time it was a loss of market shares for inland waterway transport: the results of Rhine container traffic in the first half year of 2019 were 16 % lower than they had been in the first half year of 2018 (Source: Swiss Rhine ports).
    2) A second reason for the weaker results in container traffic is the cooling off in economic framework conditions, notably of world trade, since the second half of 2018. This had a more important effect on container transport (which is more world-trade-oriented) than on mass cargo transports.
  • The Danube also recovered from the low water period of 2018. Transport for the two main market segments – agricultural products and iron ores – registered remarkable growth rates in Q1 2019, not only with regard to the second half of 2018 but also with regard to Q1 2018.
  • Cross-border transport between Serbia, Croatia and Hungary registered a 30 % increase in Q1 2019 compared to Q1 2018 (source: Danube Commission), as did total inland waterway transport in Hungary (source: Eurostat). Booming upstream transport of iron ore and downstream transport of agricultural products were the underlying growth factors.
  • The Danube Commission market observation report for Q1 2019 also indicates that downstream traffic of grain – from the Middle Danube region of Hungary, Serbia and Croatia to the ports in Romania – doubled in Q1 2019 compared to Q1 2018. Better harvest results and a recovery of water levels were the main reasons for this increase. Other market segments on the Danube, such as mineral oil products and coal, registered a certain decline.
  • Product segments and their trends are also a major reason for the evolution of transport on Rhine affluents. Traffic on the Main, Moselle, Neckar is presented in the following chart. It shows that the two major eastern affluents of the Rhine (Main and Neckar) recovered from the low water period much better than the major western affluent, the Moselle. Traffic on the Moselle was, in Q1 2019, still well below the levels of Q1 and Q2 2018.
  • An underlying cause can be found in the different trends on the level of goods between the Main and Neckar on the one hand, and the Moselle on the other hand. On the Main and Neckar, the largest goods segment is that of sands, stones and gravels, which reveals a growth orientated outlook (see chapter 9 of the 2019 annual market observation report) (See: CCNR / EC (2019), Annual Report of Market Observation 2019, chapter 9: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ccnr_2019_Q2_en-min.pdf).
  • Coal transport on the Moselle, however, has decreased quite strongly in recent years without being compensated by other goods segments, such as agricultural products, ores and steel, which have been rather stagnant. The energy transition and the decrease in coal transport are therefore major challenges for inland waterway transport on the Moselle.

 

FIGURE 3: QUARTERLY INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT ON RHINE AFFLUENTS (IN MILLION TONNES)

Source: Destatis

 
 

TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES

FIGURE 4: INLAND SHIPPING TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES (QUARTERLY DATA – MILLION TONNES)

Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], National Statistical Offices and Belgian Waterway Administrations

 
 

DRY BULK, LIQUID BULK AND CONTAINER TRANSPORT

FIGURE 5: RATE OF CHANGE IN INLAND SHIPPING TRANSPORT VOLUME (TONNES) IN FIVE MAJOR IWT COUNTRIES (Q1 2019 VS Q1 2018 – %)*

Source: CBS, Destatis, StatBel, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Service Public de Wallonie, VNF, Romanian Institute of Statistics
*In Romania, container transport is almost non-existent and is therefore not depicted in the graph.

 

  • France witnessed a very strong increase in dry cargo transport in Q1 2019. This is also confirmed by figures from Ports de Paris: inland waterway traffic in the largest French port was 32.8 % higher in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 and reached 12.7 million tonnes.
  • For sands, stones and building material, which is the largest product segment in Ports de Paris, an inland waterway traffic of 9.8 million tonnes in the first half year 2019, compared to around 7.3 million tonnes in the first half year 2018 (+34 %), is observed. A main reason for this increase is the Grand Paris Express project, which integrates inland vessels for the construction of new metro lines (Sources : Ports de Paris, and INSEE Conjoncture Normandie – Le bilan économique, June 2019). In addition, during the first half of 2018 floods on the Seine reduced cargo transport.
  • In the Netherlands and Germany, the common feature in Q1 2019 was a recovery of liquid cargo transports. Container transport in Germany has not been able to reach the level it had in the first half of 2018 so far.
  • Romania’s strong growth in dry cargo is due to a recovery of its large segments: agricultural products (+85 %), iron ore (+15 %) and construction material (+62 %). As confirmed in the Danube Commission market observation report (Market observation report of the Danube Commission for the 1st quarter 2019), this very large growth in agricultural transports can be explained by the recovery of water levels in the Middle Danube, from which grain and other products are delivered to the Lower Danube ports in Romania.

 

TABLE 1: SHARE OF DRY CARGO, LIQUID CARGO AND CONTAINER TRANSPORT IN Q1 2019 (BASED ON TONNES)

Source: CBS, Destatis, StatBel, VNF, Romanian Institute of Statistics

 Dry cargoLiquid cargoContainer
Netherlands52 %34 %14 %
Germany*59 %25 %10 %
Belgium51 %31 %17 %
France81 %13 %6 %
Romania96 %4 %0 %

* For Germany, transport statistics also contain the category of break bulk cargo, representing around 5 % (not included in table above). Break bulk cargo or general cargo are goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk.

• In 2018, more than 15,000 cargo vessels were registered in Europe; 65% of the fleet were found in Rhine countries, 23% in Danube countries, and the remaining 12% in other European countries with inland waterways (Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, UK, Lithuania).

• Over the last 10 years the share of small vessels (0 < 1,000 t) has been falling consistently. This is especially the case for dry cargo vessels, the number of which is traditionally very high in this size segment. This loss of small vessels represents a problem and a challenge for the sector, which should be addressed in the near future.

• The fleet of Rhine countries was reinforced by 17 dry cargo vessels, 28 liquid cargo vessels and 3 push and tugboats. The newbuilding rates are still relatively low, compared to the years before the financial crisis.

 

SIZE OF FLEETS PER MACRO-REGION (NUMBER OF INLAND VESSELS) IN EUROPE

Sources: 1) Rhine countries: VNF (France), CBS (Netherlands), Belgian Ministry of Transport, Waterway and Shipping Administration of Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. 2) Danube countries: Danube Commission. 3) Other countries: Eurostat [iww_eq_loadcap], [iww_eq_age], Italian and Czech Ministries of Transport, Statistical office of Poland
* Other countries = Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, United Kingdom, Lithuania. # comprises 9 tanker vessels in Poland, 1 in the Czech Republic and 16 in Lithuania. No data for the UK and Italy.

 

 

 

RHINE FLEET

 

DRY CARGO VESSELS

 

  • The following figure shows the evolution of dry cargo vessels (self-propelled vessels and barges, but without push & tug boats) in Rhine countries. In this instance only the active fleet is counted (ships active in dry cargo transport). While the number of vessels has decreased since 2005, the tonnage increased due to larger vessels joining the fleet and smaller ones leaving it.

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES

Source: CCNR based on Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, Waterway administration of Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Belgian Ministry of transport.
* = self-propelled vessels and barges, without push and tug boats

LOADING CAPACITY OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES (IN 1,000 T)*

Source: CCNR based on Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, Waterway administration of Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Belgian Ministry of transport.
* = self-propelled vessels and barges, without push and tug boats

 

  • The Dutch dry cargo fleet is the largest in the Rhine area with a share of almost 50%.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES PER COUNTRY OF REGISTRY (IN %, 2018)

Source: CCNR based on national sources (see figure above)

 

  • The number of vessels belonging to the loading capacity class (0 < 1,000 t) is falling, although the results differ somewhat from one country to another. While the number of Belgian, Dutch and French small vessels has fallen since 2014, it has remained rather constant in the German fleet.

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN RHINE COUNTRIES*

Source: CCNR based on national sources.
* Rhine countries = Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland. Data for Germany for 2018 are from 2017, as the German fleet data for 2018 were not yet available.

 

  • When the dry cargo vessel fleets of Rhine countries are compared with one another, it can be observed that the size class of the largest vessels (> 3,000 t) is present in the Belgian and Dutch fleet, but almost absent in the French and German dry cargo fleet.

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE DUTCH FLEET

Source : Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE BELGIAN FLEET

Source: ITB / Belgian ministry of transport

 

  • In France the share of the size class (0 < 1,000 t) is the highest of all Rhine countries. This share was 72% (in terms of number of vessels) in 2014 in France but decreased to 67% in 2018. A further decrease in the future can be expected, due to several economic problems in this category.

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE FRENCH FLEET

Source : VNF

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE GERMAN FLEET

Source: CCNR based on German Waterway Administration

 

  • Looking at the total Rhine fleet of dry cargo vessels, it can be seen that the shares of the different size classes have not changed dramatically since 2014. But they have changed over the last ten years when comparing the 2007 with the 2018 figures.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN % OF TOTAL NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN THE RHINE FLEET*

Source: CCNR based on national sources.
*Share is based on the number of vessels that fall in a certain tonnage size class, compared to the total number of dry cargo vessels in the Rhine fleet. Therefore, the shares for each year add up to 100%.

 

LIQUID CARGO VESSELS

 

  • Data show an increase in the total loading capacity of the tanker fleet in Rhine countries between 2005 and 2010, due to the investment in new double hull vessels. 2011 was the year with the highest increase in double hull vessels (+127), followed by the year 2010 (+112). Since then, the newbuilding rate eased, to reach 33 new double hull vessels in 2018 (including conversions from single to double hull) (Source: European Barge Inspection Scheme (EBIS)). In 2019, according to the European Barge Inspection Scheme (EBIS), there were 1,079 double hull tankers in Europe.
  • As the newbuilding rate eased from 2011 onwards, and the single hull vessels were phased out from the fleet in certain numbers year per year (due to the approaching end of the transition period) (Due to the transition scheme, the majority of liquid cargo has to be transported in double hull vessels as from 1.1.2019), the total size of the tanker fleet in Rhine countries diminished after 2011.
  • The loading capacity however remained at a high level, as there were still large new double hull vessels coming on the market in the years after 2011, while the single hull vessels that left the market were quite small.

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES

Source: CCNR based on national sources

 

LOADING CAPACITY OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES (IN 1,000 T)

Source: CCNR based on national sources

 

  • Regarding the countries of registration, for the liquid cargo fleet, the Netherlands has a share of around 54% in the total number of tanker vessels in all Rhine countries.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN RHINE COUNTRIES PER COUNTRY (IN %, 2018)

Source: CCNR based on national sources

 

  • The overall evolution of the number of vessels per size classes shows that the rather small tanker vessels (0 < 1,000 t; 1,000 < 2,000 t) have decreased in number since 2014.
  • In 2018, the number of vessels in the two smallest tonnage size classes (0 < 1,000 t; 1,000 < 2,000 t) was 761 in Rhine countries, compared to 873 in the year 2014. This means a decrease of 112 vessels over a period of only four years.

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN RHINE COUNTRIES

Source: CCNR based on national sources

 

  • There is one remarkable common point with the dry cargo fleet. Also for liquid goods vessels, the number of vessels in the size category (> 3,000 t) is quite significant in the Dutch and Belgian fleet, and again at a quite low level in the French and German fleets.

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE DUTCH FLEET

Source: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE BELGIAN FLEET

Source: CCNR based on ITB / Belgian ministry of transport

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE FRENCH FLEET

Source: CCNR based on VNF

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN THE GERMAN FLEET

Source: CCNR based on German Waterway Administration

 

  • The distribution of all active liquid cargo vessels in Rhine countries shows that the two largest size classes have increased their share, while the share of the two smaller size classes has been reduced.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS PER TONNAGE CLASS IN % OF TOTAL NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN THE RHINE FLEET*

Source: CCNR based on national sources.
* Share is based on the number of tanker vessels that fall in a certain tonnage size class, compared to the total number of tanker vessels in the Rhine fleet. Therefore, the shares for each year add up to 100.

 

  • In the Rhine countries, there are currently also around 1,240 push & tug vessels of which 718 are Dutch and 411 are German push & tugs. Their number has been quite constant since 2008.

 

DANUBE FLEET

 

DRY CARGO VESSELS

 

  • The following figure contains the series regarding dry cargo vessels (self-propelled vessels and barges, but without push & tug boats) in Danube countries. Both the number of vessels and the loading capacity has decreased since 2005.

 

Evolution of the dry cargo fleet in Danube countries

 

NUMBER OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN DANUBE COUNTRIES

Source: Danube Commission

 

LOADING CAPACITY OF THE DRY CARGO DANUBE FLEET (IN 1,000 T)

Source: Danube Commission

 

  • The Romanian dry cargo fleet is the largest in the Danube area with a share of around 48% of all dry cargo vessels.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF DRY CARGO VESSELS IN THE DANUBE FLEET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTER (IN %, 2017)*

Source: Danube Commission.
*For Austria, fleet data are not available.

 

 

LIQUID CARGO VESSELS

 

Evolution of the liquid cargo fleet in Danube countries

 

NUMBER OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN DANUBE COUNTRIES

Source: Danube Commission

 

LOADING CAPACITY OF THE LIQUID CARGO DANUBE FLEET (IN 1,000 T)

Source: Danube Commission

 

  • For the liquid cargo fleet, Romania also has the largest share in the Danube area with around 47% of all tanker vessels.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF LIQUID CARGO VESSELS IN THE DANUBE FLEET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTER (IN %, 2017)*

Source: Danube Commission
* For Austria, fleet data are not available.

 

  • In 2017, there were 657 push & tug vessels in Danube countries, of which 300 were Romanian vessels. As in the Rhine region, the number of push & tugs has been rather stable over the last 10 years.

 

CARGO FLEET IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

 

  • For Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Lithuania, the fleet figures from 2005 until 2017 are consistent and were taken from the Eurostat data [iww_eq_ loadcap] . It must be mentioned that within this database, a distinction between dry cargo and tanker vessels is not possible.
    • Information provided by the Statistical Office of Poland indicates that out of 598 freight vessels, there were 9 tanker vessels, of which 7 are self-propelled and 2 are pushed tanker barges.
    • According to the Czech Ministry of Transport, among the 139 freight vessels in the Czech fleet, there is only one tanker vessel (which was built in 1951 and it has a loading capacity of 297 tonnes).
    • The Statistical Office of Lithuania indicates that 16 out of the 63 freight vessels in Lithuania are tanker vessels.
  • For Italy, Eurostat data [iww_eq_loadcap], as well as statistics from the Italian Ministry of Transport, indicate a strong structural break in the number of vessels between the years 2009 and 2010, which points to a statistical re-classification or any other fundamental change. Therefore, it was decided not to put the Italian figures into the graph together with the other countries.
  • For the years 2011-2017, Italian figures seem quite consistent: both the Eurostat and the Italian Ministry of Transport data point to a number of 63 self-propelled cargo vessels in Italy, and to 73 dumb and pushed barges for 2017. Altogether, there are 136 Italian cargo carrying vessels in 2017.

 

NUMBER OF SELF-PROPELLED CARGO VESSELS AND DUMB AND PUSHED BARGES*

Source : Eurostat [iww_eq_loadcap]
* Dry cargo and tanker vessels taken together.

• The fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe in 2018 amounted to 359 active vessels, including 10 new and 3 modernised vessels that were introduced into the market in 2018. For 2019, 20 new vessels are expected to join the fleet.

• Over the last 12 years the river cruise fleets in smaller river cruise regions which are not connected to the Rhine or the Danube, such as the Rhône-Saone, Seine and Douro, have expanded and sometimes more than doubled.

• River cruises have been experiencing a boom since 2013, mainly due to the large number of American tourists booking river cruise holidays. In 2018, there was an increase of 14.6%, compared to 2017, reaching a total of 1.64 million river cruise passengers.

• For the first time, the annual report also contains information on the fleet of small river cruise vessels (with 10 to 39 beds) navigating in Europe. This fleet is composed of 67 vessels, the majority of which are more than 50 years old. Main regions of operation are the Netherlands and France.

 

 

FLEET FOR RIVER CRUISES

 

  • The fleet for river cruises in the EU region is mainly concentrated on Central European waterways (Rhine/Main/Main-Danube Canal/Danube/Elbe-Oder). Indeed, in 2018, the number of active river cruise vessels on Central European waterways represented close to 75% of the total river cruise fleet in the EU. The greatest concentration of river cruise vessels can be observed on the Rhine/Main/Main-Danube Canal/Danube area, with 253 vessels, including 35 on the Netherlands-Rhine axis. Despite the fact that all other European rivers not connected to the Rhine or the Danube are smaller cruising regions, their river cruise fleet has been expanding in the last decade, as follows:
    • Rhône-Saône (22 vessels in 2018 compared to 10 in 2006),
    • Seine (20 vessels in 2018 compared to 5 in 2006) and,
    • Douro (20 vessels in 2018 compared to 6 in 2006).
  • The river cruise vessel fleet in Europe (The European River cruise fleet, as it is defined in this report, comprises the fleet in the EU and in Switzerland) has constantly increased since 2004, to reach 359 active vessels in 2018 with 52,078 beds.
  • In the season 2018, 10 new vessels were also introduced to the market, adding 1,501 beds. Three more existing vessels were modernised (including one which was converted into a cruise vessel from a cargo barge), increasing the capacity of the fleet by an additional 181 beds. As no ship was removed from the fleet in 2018, and taking into account the usual alterations to other ships, the net increase in 2018 was 13 vessels with about 1,462 beds (+ 2.9% compared to + 5.5% in 2017).
  • The Rhine and the Danube have been interconnected since the completion of the Main-Danube Canal in 1992, allowing easy and permanent transfer of vessels between the Rhine and Danube basins. Regarding transfer of vessels between isolated European rivers (for instance between the Rhine and the Seine), the number of transferred vessels has been quite small over the years but has recently increased. Indeed, some vessels, which often navigate for the first time on the Rhine or the Danube, can then be transported years later to other rivers such as the Rhône or the Seine. Recently, more ships than before were ordered directly for navigation on the Rhône or the Douro (especially in 2017).

 

NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS IN THE EU BY REGION OF OPERATION (2004 – 2018)

Source: Hader, A. (2018), The River Cruise Fleet

 

  • Until the 1990s, the fleet expanded at a slow pace. Indeed, cruise vessels from before the 1990s only make up 13.6% of today’s river cruise fleet. The age structure of the European fleet shows that the number of newbuildings then started to grow until reaching a peak between 2011 and 2015, a period during which 31% of the current fleet was built. This extreme expansion came to an end in 2016, mainly due to the terrorism threat in Europe.
  • Terrorism outside the EU region can also be a factor reducing fleet expansion. For instance, after the terrorist attacks of 2001 in the USA, companies with a high share of American customers (Grand Circle, Holland River and Viking River) invested less into new vessels for Rhine and Danube voyages, due to American customers being less attracted to cruises outside the USA.

 

NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS IN THE EU BY YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION

Source: Hader, A. (2018), The River Cruise Fleet

 

  • In 2019, the number of new ships is expected to rise to 20 (two times higher than in 2018). The increase in demand from American customers and a healthy demand in the German speaking market can mainly explain this rise.

 

NEW RIVER CRUISE VESSELS FOR THE EUROPEAN MARKET 2004-2019 *

Source: Hader, A. (2018), The River Cruise Fleet
*2019: forecast based on order books

 

  • Compared to the year 2017, when a strong regional diversification was observed for newbuildings, in 2018, only one new vessel was deployed on a river disconnected from the Rhine and Danube (on the Douro). Two converted vessels were ordered to operate directly in the Benelux region.
  • Prevision for the year 2019 shows that four new vessels should operate on the Douro out of the 20 expected newbuildings and corresponding to 14% of the expected new bed capacity.

 

NEW CRUISE CAPACITIES IN 2017, 2018 AND 2019 PER REGION OF OPERATION (NUMBER OF BEDS)***

Source: Hader, A. (2018), The River Cruise Fleet
*R/M/M/D = Rhine/Main/Main-Danube Canal/Danube. *In 2018, the new beds in the Danube and the Benelux (181 beds) are the result of conversion or modernisation of existing vessels. *Figures for 2019: forecast.

 

  • The average number of beds on new cruise vessels has been slightly decreasing since 2012 to reach 150 in 2018. However, based on order books, the average number of beds for the newbuildings in 2019 is expected to rise to 165 beds.
  • Indeed, eight large cruise vessels with high passenger capacity (superior or equal to 190 beds) are planned to be delivered in 2019. Those large vessels will represent 46% of the new bed capacity in 2019 and will all navigate either on the Danube or on the Rhine/Main/ Main-Danube Canal/Danube. The largest river cruise vessel ever built for Europe, the AMAMAGNA (for 196 passengers), will be part of the 2019 delivery.
  • The figure below shows the evolution of active river cruise vessels worldwide, which amounts to 875 vessels in total in 2018. Europe has the largest river cruise fleet today, followed by the Nile and other African rivers.
  • Today, the Nile fleet remains quite large, with close to 280 cruise vessels. However, while the EU fleet has grown faster than ever in recent years, the business in Egypt has been and is still suffering from an important political crisis. The situation of the Nile fleet seems to be slowly improving.
  • After a constant decrease in the Russian fleet since 2004, the cruise fleet in Russia gained one new boat in 2018, totaling 121 cruise vessels (compared to 120 in 2017). The fleet in Russia and Ukraine however remains quite old on average. In the wake of the political developments in Russia and the Ukraine, the number of foreign river cruise tourists has declined in these countries which represents of course no major incentive for a renewal of the fleet.
  • While the American cruise fleet only contributes to a low extent to the world river cruise fleet, it can be observed that the US fleet has consistently been rising since 2011. The fleet in Asia is also following a similar trend.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS PER REGION WORLDWIDE (NUMBER OF VESSELS)*

Source: Hader, A. (2018), The River Cruise Fleet
* No reliable data regarding Egyptian vessels still ready for use

 

  • Since 2005, 27 vessels have been withdrawn from the EU river cruise fleet. The largest number of withdrawals since 2005 can be observed in 2017. This can be explained by different factors: a technical correction for a ship not delivered as expected, two probable termination of services and four downgrades to river hotels or accommodation.

 

RIVER CRUISE VESSELS REGISTERED IN THE EU REGION(IN NUMBER OF VESSELS)

Source: Hader, A (2018)

 

 

RIVER CRUISE VESSELS REGISTERED IN THE RMD (Rhine/Main/Main-Danube Canal/Danube area) AREA (IN NUMBER OF VESSELS)

Source: Hader, A (2018)

 

  • There were 153 ships, or 43% of European river cruise vessels in the EU region, registered in Switzerland. In terms of number of registered vessels, Switzerland not only dominates the EU region, but also that of the Rhine-Main-Danube (R-M-D). Switzerland also holds a large share on the Rhône-Saône river, the Seine and the Elbe. This can be explained by the fact that many shipping companies have their headquarters in Basel and in other Swiss cities. Most of these river cruise vessels belong to tour operators based in the USA but which are managed in Switzerland.
  • In Germany, 58 river cruise vessels are registered, and comes in second position. The distribution among the rivers shows similarities with Switzerland. There are as many river cruise vessels registered in the Netherlands and in Malta, both placed in third position, with 43 vessels each. Vessels registered in the Netherlands sail mainly on Dutch rivers while those registered in Malta sail mainly on the Rhine-Main-Danube area and occasionally in France. Operators of vessels registered in Malta are shipowners from the USA, Australia, Malaysia, Slovakia and the Netherlands.
  • In France, 32 river cruise vessels are registered, coming in fourth position and sailing mainly on French waters. In Portugal, 14 river cruise vessels are registered, sailing mainly on the Douro. The popularity of the Douro has increased sharply recently. The majority of the fleet is operated by a Portuguese company.
  • Four vessels are registered in Bulgaria, which sail on the Danube. This fleet is currently being modernised in order to be allowed to navigate on the Rhine. Three vessels that navigate on the Göta Canal between Stockholm and Gothenburg are registered in Sweden. In Austria, only two Danube ships are registered. One river cruise vessel is registered in each of the following countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, the UK, Poland and Ukraine. Many different countries of registration can also be found on the Elbe and on the waterways between the Elbe, the Oder and the Baltic Sea coasts. Since the fleet structure is very similar on the Seine and the Rhône, the countries of registration of vessels sailing on those rivers are also similar.

 

DEMAND FOR RIVER CRUISES

 

  • Despite low waters, the river cruise industry experienced a boom in 2018. The number of river cruise passengers on European rivers increased by 14.6% to reach 1.64 million. US-Americans and Canadians were again the most important source market with a share of 37.7%, followed by Germans (28.1%) and British and Irish (12.8%).

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS ON EUROPEAN CRUISE VESSELS BY NATIONALITY (IN 1000)

Source: IG River Cruise / German Travel Association (DRV) / SeaConsult

 

  • The strong growth in 2018 reflects the increase of capacities in recent years. In 2018 alone, the net increase of capacities was 13 vessels and about 1,462 beds. Low waters did not threaten the activity too greatly, since a lot of regions of operation were not severely impacted by low waters. This was the case in particular for French regions, which experienced strong demand growth in 2018.
  • Another explanation is a swift shift in the age structure of travelers. 2018 brought a wave of younger people wishing to experience river cruise vessels. The share of German travelers in the age group 41-55 rose from 11.8% to 18.3% in 2018. The share of persons aged 26-40 was more than four times higher in 2018, with a share of 8.3% in 2018 compared to only 2% in 2017 (Source: IG River Cruise / DRV / SeaConsult (2019), Der Fluss-Kreuzfahrtmarkt 2018).
  • Another new trend is the strongly increasing preference of German river cruise passengers for high-price-segments: the premium segment increased its market share from 39.4% in 2017 to 45.6% last year, while the luxury and ultra-luxury segments (taken together) rose from a share of 6.3% in 2017 to 14.3% in 2018. Due to the overall demand increase, and the rising importance of premium and luxury segments, the revenues from ticket sales reached a record high in 2018. Revenues from tickets purchased by German tourists increased by 18% compared to 2017.
  • With regard to nationalities, the group of travelers with the highest demand growth in 2018 were ‘other nationalities’, which comprise tourists from Asia, Russia, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Their numbers in total increased by 41%. The second strongest growth was observed for British and Irish tourists (+31%). The numbers for the two largest nationalities (US-Americans/ Canadians and Germans) increased at about the same rate (14.3% and 14.7% respectively).
  • Data on the number of cruise vessels passing locks along Rhine, Danube, Moselle and other rivers show an increase for the Danube of 6% in 2018. On the Moselle, the figures at the lock of Koblenz reflect an increase of vessels by 12%. On the Saar, cruise vessel traffic more than doubled.

 

YEARLY NUMBER OF CRUISE SHIP TRANSITS ON EUROPEAN RIVERS*

Source: Generaldirektion Wasserstraßen und Schifffahrt
*Sum of upstream and downstream traffic of cabin vessels at the following locks: Jochenstein (Danube), Iffezheim (Rhine), Koblenz (Moselle), Kelheim (Main-Danube Canal), Kostheim (Main), Kanzem (Saar).

 

  • The curve for the Mosel is based on cabin vessels passing the lock of Koblenz, where the Mosel joins the Rhine. The figures for 2018 reveal a real boom of cruise traffic on the Mosel. In 2018, the number of cabin vessels passing the Koblenz lock was 1,542, and 12% higher than in 2017. According to the Mosel Commission, other locks along the Mosel also registered strongly rising cruise vessel numbers in 2018: the locks of Zeltingen and Fankel, located along the romantic Mosel valley between Koblenz and Trier, saw 971 and 1,062 cruise vessels passing in 2018 (+19% and +25%) (Source: Mosel Commission (2019), Verkehrszahlen Mosel 2018, March 2019).
  • The curve for the Danube shows the number of cabin vessels passing the German-Austrian border, which is 32 km downstream from Passau. This city is an important point of departure and arrival for Danube cruises going to Vienna or Budapest, or even further downstream. The number of cabin vessels passing the German-Austrian border increased by 6% in 2018 and reached 3,406 transits.
  • Cruise traffic from Passau downstream consists of short trips of 5, 7 or 8 days on the routes Passau-Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest-Passau and Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest, as well as trips to and from the Rhine and Main ports. The number of these short cruises can furthermore be observed on the basis of the lock of Gabčíkovo at the Slovakian-Hungarian border. According to the Danube Commission, the number of cabin vessel transits at Gabčíkovo was 3,945 in 2018, carrying 548,800 passengers.
  • Passau is also a point of departure for longer trips, to the Danube delta with a duration of 14, 15 or 16 days. The number of passengers and ship transits for these trips can be observed by looking at the figures of the lock of Mohacs in southern Hungary. There were 754 cabin vessel transits in 2018, which corresponds to 106.6% of the 2017 figure. The number of passengers for these longer Danube trips was 103,560 in 2018 (+6.6% compared to 2017) (Source: Danube Commission (2019, Marktbeobachtung der Donauschifffahrt – Bilanz 2018, April 2019).

 

RIVER CRUISE VESSELS WITH 10 TO 39 BEDS IN EUROPE

 

Introduction

  • The river cruise fleet with 10 to 39 beds is older than the river cruise fleet with 40 beds or more. Most small river cruise vessels are former cargo vessels that have been converted into cruise vessels since the 1980s (Freycinet type).
  • The analysis of the fleet showed that there are 67 small river cruise vessels navigating on European rivers. There are also several vessels with less than 10 beds operating on European rivers and canals. Those vessels were not taken into account in this analysis.
  • Despite the rather old age of small river cruise vessels in Europe, this fleet can be modern, even luxurious, and blends well with the historic canals and city views. This fleet is also well suited for a picturesque and gourmet tour.

 

AGE STRUCTURE OF SMALL RIVER CRUISE VESSELS IN EUROPE (BY YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION AND REGIONS OF OPERATION)

Source: A. Hader, January 2019

 

  • In the oldest group (vessels built before the 1900s), three ships were built in 1897 and three others at an unknown date. Six vessels were built between 1906 and 1913. The age class with the highest number of small cruise vessels contains vessels built in the 1920s and 1930s. There are 26 small river cruise vessels that belong to this age class and they have mostly been converted from former cargo vessels.
  • Since that time, the newbuilding activity for such small vessels continued to decrease until the end of the years 2000: 11 vessels built between 1941 and 1960, seven between 1961 and 1980, and four between 1981 and 2000. Between 2001 and 2019, seven new vessels were built. Out of these, five were ordered by CroisiEurope between 2014 and 2016. The number of newbuildings is very low compared to the more than 250 new larger river cruise vessels built during the same period.

 

CAPACITIES OF SMALL RIVER CRUISE VESSELS IN EUROPE (IN NUMBER OF BEDS AND REGIONS OF OPERATION)

Source: A. Hader, January 2019

 

  • Approximately half (34) of the 67 small river cruise vessels have a capacity of between 20 and 29 beds, with 25 having a capacity of between 10 and 19 beds. Only a few vessels (8) have a capacity between 30 and 39 beds. Among the 25 small river cruise vessels of the smallest group, the common capacity is 12 beds.

 

CRUISING AREAS OF SMALL RIVER CRUISE VESSELS (IN NUMBER OF VESSELS)

Source: A. Hader, January 2019

  • The distribution of the vessels per cruising areas reveals that there are two regional niches for small river cruises.
  • The larger one is the Dutch network of rivers and canals, with 35 small river cruise vessels cruising in this area. Many of those can offer round trips in the Netherlands but also across the Belgian, French and German borders. This region is popular as many cyclists use the small river cruise vessels as a hotel when changing locations.
  • The second popular cruising areas are the French canals, with 19 small river cruise vessels in operation, mainly in Bourgogne and Provence. On French canals, there are no small river cruise vessels with more than 30 beds. CroisiEurope has however built a new series of five vessels with 22 beds in recent years. Another French peculiarity are the very small river cruise vessels, which often have only four to eight beds, but are not included in this analysis.
  • The rest of small river cruise vessels, 13 in total, are distributed among six other countries. In Germany, there are only three such vessels. The German river cruise vessel fleet is dominated by larger vessels. In the United Kingdom, only four small river cruise vessels navigate in Scotland and on the Thames. It is worth noting that many vessels with less than 10 beds also navigate on narrow canals in the United Kingdom but were not taken into account in this analysis. In Italy, three ships navigate on the Venice lagoon or the Po River, one of them being registered in the Netherlands. On the Shannon river in Ireland, most river cruise vessels also have less than 10 beds. Only one vessel built after the year 2000 fits within the chosen criteria for this analysis and belongs to the smaller group category.

• Inland waterway traffic declined in the seaports of Hamburg and Antwerp in 2018 but rose at the port of Constanta.

• Most Rhine ports suffered from the low water period in 2018, which resulted in a decrease of 10.3% on average for the waterside traffic of major Rhine ports. But for some Rhine ports, such as the port of Kehl and Ludwigshafen, more waterside traffic was registered in 2018 than in 2017.

• As rivers and canals in France and Belgium were far less impacted by low water levels than the Rhine, the average results for the major French and Belgian inland ports was less negative than for Rhine ports.

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN MAIN EUROPEAN SEAPORTS

Source: Port Statistics, Eurostat [iww_go-aport], Panteia, CBS
*North Sea Port is the name of the port formed by the cross-border merger between Zeeland Seaports (Flushing, Borsele and Terneuzen) in the Netherlands and Ghent Port Company in Belgium, signed on 8 December 2017. The cross-border merger port started to operate on 1st January 2018.

 

Source: Romanian national Institute of Statistics

 

  • In Rotterdam, the largest European seaport, 123,859 inland vessels were loaded or unloaded in 2018. Rotterdam is a market leader in the Hamburg-Le Havre range by total throughput, as it holds 36.7% of market shares, followed by Antwerp (18.6%), and Hamburg (10.6%) (Port of Rotterdam annual report 2018).
  • The volume of loaded or unloaded cargo at the port of Rotterdam was 152.8 million tonnes in 2018 (-4% compared to 2017). This decrease could be a consequence of the low water period in the second half of 2018, which has affected the IWW transport of goods from the port of Rotterdam to the hinterland.

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF ROTTERDAM (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Port of Rotterdam

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF ROTTERDAM PER GOOD SEGMENTS (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Port of Rotterdam

 

  • In Antwerp, 59,724 inland vessels frequented the port in 2018 (compared to 59,268 vessels in 2017). The IWT goods traffic at the port of Antwerp fell slightly by 3% in 2018, from 102.3 in 2017 to 99.3 million tonnes in 2018.
  • Chemicals and petroleum products are the most important market segments for the port of Antwerp, each making up more than 27% of total river traffic at the port. Containers come close behind with a share of 24.5% of total river traffic.
  • The slight decrease in total IWT traffic at the port of Antwerp in 2018 can be explained by a decline of ores and metal waste from 22.1 million tonnes in 2017 to 17.9 million tonnes in 2018 (-19%), as well as for petroleum products from 29.9 million tonnes to 27.4 million tonnes (-8.6%). Volumes of animal fodder and food products increased by 10% and chemicals by 3.4%.

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF ANTWERP (MILLION TONNES)

Source: port of Antwerp
* Ro/ro, general and not assigned goods are not taken into account in these calculations (in 2018, the volume transported for these three cargo types amounted to 6.7 million tonnes, mostly attributed to conventional goods).

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF ANTWERP PER GOOD SEGMENTS (MILLION TONNES)*

Source: port of Antwerp
* Ro/ro, general and not assigned goods are not taken into account in these calculations (in 2018, the volume transported for these three cargo types amounted to 6.7 million tonnes, mostly attributed to conventional goods).

 

  • Volumes transported by IWT decreased by 7.5% between 2017 and 2018 in the Port of Hamburg. The modal split at the Port of Hamburg is dominated by rail transport, with a share of 47.1%, closely followed by road (45.7%). IWT comes last with a share of 10.2%. Incoming river traffic has a share of 44% in Hamburg, and 56% is outgoing traffic.

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF HAMBURG (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Statistical Office of Hamburg
* General cargo is not taken into account in these calculations

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF HAMBURG PER GOOD SEGMENTS (MILLION TONNES)*

Source: Statistical Office of Hamburg
* General cargo is not taken into account in these calculations

 

  • In Constanța, 9,487 inland vessels called at the port in 2018, of which 5,966 were barges (63%) and 1,328 were push boats (14%). River traffic was stable in 2018 compared to 2017, with 12.7 million tonnes. The port of Constanța is the main seaport on the Black Sea, playing a very important role for the transport of cereals (share of 38%), especially as a transit node for this good segment. Fertilizers, non-ferrous and iron ores (share of 29%) are also important goods segments for the port.
  • Container traffic in the port of Constanta has always been relatively low. In 2018, it amounted to 1,266 TEUs, a decrease compared to 2017 when 4,849 TEU were transported.

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN THE SEAPORT OF CONSTANTA (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Port of Constanța/Romanian Statistical Office

 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN MAIN EUROPEAN INLAND PORTS

 

RHINE PORTS

 

WATERSIDE TRAFFIC IN MAJOR RHINE PORTS (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Destatis, Port de Strasbourg, Swiss Rhine ports, Port de Mulhouse
*The result in Ludwigshafen is due to special effects. An accident occurred in 2017 which greatly reduced cargo traffic that year (traffic had been shifted to Mannheim temporarily).

 

Port of Strasbourg

  • The activities of the Port of Strasbourg (PAS) were impacted by the long period of low water (mid-July to late December 2018): vessels had to limit their loads and container ships had to stop sailing for two months. As a consequence, large amounts of cargo were shifted towards rail transport. Containerized railway traffic increased by 19%. But despite the difficult year, the port looks to the future and has plans for an extension of its container terminals (Source: Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, article “Le port de Strasbourg pénalisé par les basses eaux du Rhin”, (16th January 2019)).

 

Port of Kehl

  • The neighbouring port of Strasbourg, just on the other side of the Rhine, is the port of Kehl, where a large electric steel mill is located in the port area, among other important companies. The steel mill uses scrap metals for steel production, and the transport of iron and steel has by far the largest share in total waterway traffic in Kehl (69% in 2018). An amount of 2.75 million tonnes of iron and steel related goods were registered by the port in 2018, which represented an increase by 4.3% compared to 2017 (Source: Kehler Hafenbericht 2018).

 

TOTAL YEARLY WATERSIDE TRAFFIC (MILLION TONNES)

 

FRENCH AND BELGIAN INLAND PORTS

 

WATERSIDE TRAFFIC IN MAJOR FRENCH AND BELGIAN INLAND PORTS (MILLION TONNES)

Sources: Ports de Paris, Port de Liège, Port de Strasbourg, Port de Mulhouse, Port de Bruxelles, Port de Namur, Nouveau port de Metz, Port de Lille, VNF

 

Port of Liège

  • In the third largest European inland port, waterway cargo traffic benefited from an increase of container traffic (measured in tonnes, by 20%). Containers and diverse goods reached a volume of almost 0.9 million tonnes. In terms of TEU, the result represented more than 85,000 TEU (+15%). Another positive development was the growing metals traffic, due to the recovery of the local steel production (Source : Port autonome de Liège, Press communication, 20th February 2019).

 

Port of Metz

  • The port of Metz in Lorraine on the river Moselle is the largest inland port in France for grain. According to detailed ports statistics, 1.7 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural products were exported by inland waterway traffic in 2018; this was significantly more than in 2017, when very bad harvest results had lowered the grain export to a level of 1.4 million tonnes.

 

TOTAL YEARLY WATERSIDE TRAFFIC (MILLION TONNES)

 

DANUBE PORTS

 

WATERSIDE TRAFFIC IN LARGE DANUBE PORTS (MILLION TONNES)

Source: Danube Commission Market observation report, Romanian Statistical Institute, Hungarian Statistical Office, Destatis

 

Port of Linz

  • Taken together, around 2.1 million tonnes of iron ores were imported trough all Austrian inland ports in 2018, which represented 52% of all unloaded cargo in Austrian ports. 89.2% of these iron ore imports were unloaded in the port of Linz, which is the centre of the Austrian steel industry (Source: market observation report of the Danube Commission, April 2019).

 

Port of Bratislava

  • According to the market observation report 2019 of the Danube Commission, the development plan for the port of Bratislava foresees the modernisation of its structure as an intermodal port and the establishment of a terminal for the production and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

 

TOTAL YEARLY WATERSIDE TRAFFIC (MILLION TONNES)