Luxembourg

  • Statistical data on employees in the IWT freight and passenger sector, affiliated to the Luxembourg social security system, were collected from the General Inspection of Social Security on the basis of data from the Joint Social Security Centre (Inspection générale de la sécurité sociale (IGSS) sur la base des données du Centre commun de la sécurité sociale) (CCSS). These data relate only to employees, not to the self-employed, active in the sector as of 31 March 2020 and cover administrative staff as well.
  • In the freight transport sector, 125 companies employ in total 4,110 workers affiliated to the Luxembourg social security system. This number is similar to the number of workers registered in German IWW freight transport. The number for passenger transport is less significant, with only six companies employing in total 200 workers. The high number of employees in freight transport could be explained by the fact that:
    • Luxembourg has good access to the inland waterway network in the Rhine region, and
    • Luxembourg offers very competitive economic conditions for companies regarding the level of taxes and social security costs.
  • As is the case in other countries, most employees are male workers (94%).
  • A very high share of employees in the IWT sector in Luxembourg are foreigners. These foreigners come from both western and eastern European countries. While the two most frequent nationalities among western Europeans are Dutch and German, the two most frequent nationalities of foreign workers coming from eastern Europe are Czech and Polish.
  • Workers from eastern Europe represent 39% of employees in Luxembourg, mostly coming from the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania. This figure seems to confirm the observed migration of inland waterway workers from the east to the west, and also observed in countries such as Austria, Germany or the Netherlands. Foreign employees coming from Rhine countries, mainly the Netherlands and Germany, represent 57% of the workers, and 75% of all employees working for a Luxembourg company in freight transport are not posted.
  •  

    FIGURES 36 AND 37: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWW FREIGHT (FIRST PIE CHART) AND PASSENGER (SECOND PIE CHART) TRANSPORT IN LUXEMBOURG BY NATIONALITY (AS OF MARCH 2020)



    Source: Inspection générale de la sécurité sociale sur la base des données du Centre commun de la sécurité sociale
     

  • In Luxembourg, most workers – both in the freight and passenger transport sector – are aged between 30 and 59. A similar age structure can be observed in most IWT countries for which data on the age of IWT workers were available. However, on the basis of the available data for Luxembourg, it is not possible to draw conclusions as to the age evolution of IWT workers in this country.
  •  

    FIGURES 38 AND 39: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWW FREIGHT (FIRST CHART) AND PASSENGER (SECOND CHART) TRANSPORT IN LUXEMBOURG BY AGE GROUP (AS OF MARCH 2020)



    Source: Inspection générale de la sécurité sociale sur la base des données du Centre commun de la sécurité sociale
     
    Austria

  • Austria belongs to those countries which have a higher importance of passenger IWT than of freight IWT in terms of employment. The difference in the number of employees between the two categories has increased substantially over the last decade. According to data from the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS), the number of employees in passenger IWT increased gradually from 254 in 2008 to 416 in 2019 (strongest increase between 2013 and 2016), whereas the number of employees in freight IWT followed a reversed trajectory, decreasing from 167 to 50 from 2008 to 2019. However, it has stabilised since 2017. All in all, the number of employees in Austrian IWT increased from 421 to 466 between 2008 and 2019.
  •  

    FIGURE 40: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION BY SECTOR*


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
    * The number of employees in freight and passenger transport represent the average numbers of employees per year. In passenger transport, there are fluctuations in the number of employees during a year, due to the seasonality of passenger transport activities.

     

  • While the number of male employees decreased from 331 in 2008 to 307 in 2019, the number of female workers increased from 94 to 160 in that period. The share of women in IWT employment in Austria was about 34% in 2019. The positive development of female employment is explained by the high share of women working in passenger IWT, corresponding to the previously presented numbers for France and Germany. The AMS data imply that a maximum of eight employees per year work in maritime and coastal navigation. Indeed, Austria is a landlocked country in central Europe with no access to maritime waters.
  •  

    FIGURE 41: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION* BY GENDER


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
    * Including between 0 and 8 employees working in maritime and coastal navigation per year.

     

  • According to the AMS data, the age group containing all employees aged 45 and older decreased from 192 to 183 employees from 2008 to 2019. On the contrary, the number of employees between 25 and 44 years of age increased substantially from 153 to 194 in that period, in particular between 2013 and 2016. The number of young employees under 25 years declined up until 2013 but increased overall from 80 to 89 between 2009 and 2019.
  •  

    FIGURE 42: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION* BY AGE GROUP


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
    * Including between 0 and 8 employees working in maritime and coastal navigation per year.

     

  • The number of foreigners among the employees in Austrian IWT increased substantially from 120 in 2008 to 191 in 2019. In the same period, the number of Austrian IWT employees decreased slightly from 305 to 275. The overall increase of employment in Austrian IWT between 2008 and 2019 can therefore mainly be attributed to a net influx of 106 foreigners between 2013 and 2016.
  •  

    FIGURE 43: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION* – AUSTRIANS AND FOREIGNERS


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
    * Including between 0 and 8 employees working in maritime and coastal navigation per year.

     

  • The largest group of foreigners in 2019 and in previous years were of Serbian nationality. There are still also some persons with ‘former Yugoslavia’, and ‘Serbia and Montenegro’ nationalities, although their number is decreasing. Hungarians are in second place behind Serbians.
  •  

    FIGURE 44: FOREIGNERS EMPLOYED IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION BY NATIONALITY (2019)


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
     

    FIGURE 45: NUMBER OF FOREIGN EMPLOYEES IN AUSTRIAN INLAND NAVIGATION* BY NATIONALITY AND YEAR


    Source: Austrian Public Employment Service
    * Including between 0 and 8 employees working in maritime and coastal navigation per year.

  • The Austrian Employment Service does not have data on the self-employed in Austrian IWT. However, according to the Structural Business Statistics of Statistics Austria, 59 men and 15 women were active as self-employed in Austrian passenger IWT in 2017. In freight IWT, 8 persons were self-employed, none of whom were women.
  •  
    Czech Republic

  • At the level of the Czech Statistical Office, the statistical dataset that is available and covers IWT, is an overall dataset covering the whole NACE sector 50 (water transport). This includes IWW, maritime and coastal navigation (both passenger and freight). However, the Czech Republic is a country in central Europe with no maritime waters, so it is highly likely that this national database relates mainly to inland navigation employment in the Czech Republic.
  • In addition, in 2017, the number of persons employed in the Czech Republic in the whole NACE sector 50 was 619, according to this database. A small difference of only 6 persons can therefore be observed compared to the Eurostat SBS database (613 persons employed in inland navigation in the Czech Republic in 2017), allowing to confirm the abovementioned hypothesis.
  • In the Czech Republic, total employment decreased from 2005 until 2016, but has stabilised since that year. The number of self-employed has increased slightly since 2005, from 74 self-employed in 2005 to 100 in 2017.
  •  

    FIGURE 46: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN THE NACE SECTOR 50* IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC


    Sources: Czech Statistical Office, CCNR analysis
    * Although the NACE sector 50 contains maritime and inland navigation together, a comparison with Eurostat data for employment in inland navigation shows that at least 99% of the Czech NACE 50 employment is inland navigation employment. The number of self-employed was calculated from deducting the number of employees from all persons employed.

     

  • In 2017, the average monthly gross wage per person was only 862 Euro in Czech inland waterway transport. A further split into freight and passenger transport employment is not possible based on the national database. However, Eurostat data (which are only available for the year 2017) indicate that freight and passenger transport have an almost equally high amount of employment in the Czech Republic.
  •  

    FIGURE 47: AVERAGE MONTHLY GROSS WAGE (IN €) AND SHARE OF PERSONNEL COSTS IN TOTAL COSTS (IN %) IN THE CZECH INLAND NAVIGATION SECTOR*


    Sources: Czech Statistical Office, CCNR analysis
    * NACE sector 50. See remarks in the text. Conversion from Czech Crowns to Euro via annual reference exchange rates from ECB (https://www.oenb.at/isaweb/report.do?report=2.14.5).

     

  • A view of the average monthly wage level in the Czech Republic by economic sectors shows that the wage level in water transport is below the average wage level in the Czech transport sector. In the time period 2013-2017, this wage gap was 18% on average. The wage gap was 24% higher when comparing water transport wages with wages in the overall economy.
  •  

    FIGURE 48: AVERAGE MONTHLY GROSS WAGES AND SALARIES OF EMPLOYEES IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC (IN €, FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT)


    Sources: Czech Ministry of Transport, CCNR analysis
    * Water transport = NACE sector 50. See remarks in the text. Conversion from Czech Crowns to Euro via annual reference exchange rates from ECB (https://www.oenb.at/isaweb/report.do?report=2.14.5).

     

  • The low wages in Czech water transport and the international character of inland navigation, with a high mobility of workers, can be regarded as a major reason for the fact that in 2019, 238 Czech persons were employed in the German inland waterway sector, according to data from the German labour agency. Between 2013 and 2019, their number increased steadily. Persons from the Czech Republic represent the second largest group of foreigners working in the German inland navigation sector, behind Polish workers.
  •  
    Hungary

  • Hungary is an important country for European inland navigation. Situated in central Europe on the middle part of the Danube, it has a very large lake (Balaton), many river cruises, and its capital, Budapest, is a major destination.
  • The Hungarian Statistical Office (HCSO) produces data based on surveys about the number of employees in passenger IWT. These data however exclude on-board catering and bar services. The surveys aim at employees working at least 60 hours per month in a Hungarian company with at least five employees. According to these surveys, the number of such employees has increased in the last decade from 529 in 2010 to 665 in 2018. On the contrary, the respective number of employees in freight IWT has substantively decreased from 226 to 80 in the same period. The number of employees working in the sector of service activities incidental to IWT, such as maintenance services of canals and the operation of locks, increased massively from 97 to 414 in that period.
  •  

    FIGURE 49: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES* IN HUNGARY PER SECTOR


    Source: Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)
    * Working at least 60 hours per month in a company with at least five employees.

     
    The figure below shows the share of employees who work in a “physical job” in contrast to a white-collar job, categories that vaguely trace the divide between working on board and working ashore. In passenger IWT, this share is approximately at the same level of about 68% in 2018 as in 2010, although it has followed a downward trend since 2014. The share of employees in freight IWT who work in a “physical job” has oscillated around the current level of about 64%, while it has decreased strongly to about 46% for the service activity sector.
     

    FIGURE 50: SHARE OF EMPLOYEES* WORKING IN A “PHYSICAL JOB” (IN %)


    Source: Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO), CCNR analysis. *Working at least 60 hours per month in a company with at least five employees.
     

  • According to a database of service record books maintained by the Shipping Authority of the Department of Transport of the Governmental Office of the Capital City Budapest, around 11% of shipping certificates during the 2010s were awarded to women. From this information, it can be cautiously deduced that about this share of employees on board of vessels in Hungarian IWT is female, assuming that the margin of error imposed by the imperfections of the service record books does not correlate with gender. According to such service record books, only a very small share of less than 1% of all shipping certificates were awarded to foreigners, mostly to Romanians and Slovaks.
  • Further employment data are available from the National Employment Service (NFSZ). Following the Hungarian Standard Classification of Occupations (HSCO), 610 persons worked as part of a vessel’s crew in Hungary in 2016. The average basic wage in this category amounted to about 534 Euro per month in 2016 and the average monthly total earnings, including additional payments, amounted to about 602 Euro. On the one hand, average total earnings in that year were 5% higher than for truck drivers. On the other hand, they were distinctly lower than for other occupations in the transport sector (e.g. about 58% lower than for train drivers and between 21% and 44% lower than for drivers of different types of buses). Compared to the entire Hungarian economy, persons employed as part of a vessel’s crew in IWT earned about 29% less.
  • Persons working in IWT in Hungary only had a small wage increase between their 20s and 30s when compared to other sectors. A similar finding is observed in France. However, monthly earnings in IWT in Hungary are much higher for persons between 51 and 55 years old than for all other age groups. This pattern is not visible for the entirety of the sectors in the Hungarian economy.
  •  

    FIGURE 51: AVERAGE MONTHLY EARNINGS (IN EURO) IN HUNGARIAN IWT IN 2016 BY AGE GROUP


    Sources: Hungarian National Employment Service (NFSZ), CCNR analysis Currency converted from Hungarian forint using the average of the ECB euro reference exchange rate for 2016 (https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/policy_and_exchange_rates/euro_reference_exchange_rates/html/eurofxref-graph-huf.en.html).
     

  • According to the NFSZ data, the number of persons working in companies with their main activity in IWT is higher than the number of persons working as part of a vessel’s crew. In 2016, 1,075 persons worked in passenger IWT and 447 persons in freight IWT. Monthly average total earnings amounted to about 523 Euro in passenger IWT and to about 990 Euro in freight IWT. This implies average earnings of about 660 Euro in Hungarian IWT, a slightly higher average than for the crew members. In France, it is also the case that persons working ashore earn more than persons working on board.
  • As the wages of persons employed in IWT in Hungary are low compared to the wages in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France and Austria, there is a strong incentive to leave the country in order to earn more abroad. Indeed, nearly 20% of all foreign employees working in IWT in Austria are Hungarian citizens. In Germany, this share amounts to about 3% (Source: Arbeitsmarktservice Austria and Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
  • Annual numbers of newly issued certificates of qualification could be obtained from the Department for Shipping Authority at the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology. The advantage compared to registers of service record books is that these numbers are less prone to distortions from certificates that are no longer actively used. It can be seen that the boatman certificate is the most often issued certificate in Hungary. In 2012, 205 such certificates were issued and in 2019, 239 certificates were issued. The numbers of other certificates fluctuate quite strongly over time but a positive development in 2019 can be recognised for the boatmaster certificates A and B.
  •  

    FIGURES 52 AND 53: NUMBER OF NEWLY ISSUED CERTIFICATES OF QUALIFICATION IN IWT IN HUNGARY



    Source: Department for Shipping Authority at the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology
     
    Romania

  • Romania is the largest Danube country measured by the number of persons working in that sector reported by the Eurostat SBS data (To some extent, Germany, which has a much higher IWT employment than Romania, is also a Danube country, as parts of the upper Danube are located in Germany. But German IWT is mainly orientated to the Rhine basin. Hence, only a very small share of its employment is related to Danube ports and Danube navigation).
  • Similar to other countries, Romania has experienced a steady and substantial increase in the number of employees working in passenger IWT during the last year. From 2015 to 2018, that number grew by about 28% from 277 to 355. It is also visible that this growth was predominantly driven by small enterprises. The number of employees working in companies with a maximum of nine employees more than doubled in that period of time, while the respective number in companies with 50 employees and more, remained more or less constant. Correspondingly, the number of enterprises with at most nine employees increased from 36 in 2015 to 79 in 2018, while just one additional enterprise with between 10 and 49 employees, and no additional enterprise with at least 50 employees, emerged.
  •  

    FIGURE 54: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN PASSENGER IWT BY COMPANY SIZE


    Source: National Institute of Statistics (NIS)
     

    FIGURE 55: NUMBER OF ENTERPRISES IN PASSENGER IWT BY COMPANY SIZE


    Source: National Institute of Statistics (NIS)

  • Compared to passenger IWT, freight IWT is more important in Romania in terms of the number of employees. However, the total number of employees in freight IWT remained more or less constant from 2015 to 2018. Contrary to passenger IWT, the number of employees in small enterprises, with at most nine employees, decreased in that time period due to a reduction of enterprises in this category from 66 to 49. A decrease in employment is also observed in the sole enterprise with at least 250 employees. These losses were compensated for by increases in companies with between 10 and 249 employees.
  •  

    FIGURE 56: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN FREIGHT IWT BY COMPANY SIZE


    Source: National Institute of Statistics (NIS)
     

    FIGURE 57: NUMBER OF ENTERPRISES IN FREIGHT IWT BY COMPANY SIZE


    Source: National Institute of Statistics (NIS)
     

  • All in all, in Romania the freight sector is far more important than the passenger sector, both in terms of number of employees and turnover. However, as is the case for other countries, the relative importance of passenger IWT in terms of employment has increased in the last years. In terms of the number of enterprises, passenger IWT even overtook freight IWT in 2018.
  • The Romanian Naval Authority provides data on the number and type of qualification certificates including service record books issued by this institution. However, such data do not allow drawing detailed conclusions about the current composition of Romania’s IWT work force differentiated by the ranks and tasks of persons employed on board of vessels. Indeed, a single person might hold multiple different certificates, all registered in the service record books, and some persons with certificates may no longer be active. Yet, assuming that the gender share is predominantly uninfluenced by these considerations, one can cautiously conclude that about 15% of the nautical crew below the level of boatmasters are female, whereas for boatmasters this share is below 0.1%. Of all persons employed on board other than the nautical crew (such as accommodation and gastronomic staff, as well as the more technically orientated staff), 15% are also women.
  •  
    Bulgaria

  • Another country with substantial access to the Danube is Bulgaria. Some information on its IWT employment could be gained from a survey of vessel owners and vessel operators conducted by the Bulgarian Maritime Administration in early 2020, concluding that 25 companies are active in IWT in Bulgaria. According to the data collected, 517 persons are employed in Bulgarian IWT on board of vessels. This figure matches quite well with the Eurostat figure of employment in freight transport for Bulgaria. According to the Eurostat SBS database, 584 persons were employed in IWW freight transport in Bulgaria in 2018, and an estimate 329 persons were employed in IWW passenger transport (see chapter 4).
  • All of the 81 boatmasters, and all but one of the 130 persons who are part of the nautical crew below the boatmaster level, are men. In contrast, 53 of the 126 persons employed as service staff on passenger ships are women. Roughly half of the persons work on vessels that travel to other countries whereas the other half is solely active within Bulgaria. While there are few Romanian boatmasters and few Ukrainians as part of the nautical crew below the boatmaster level, the large majority of employees are Bulgarian nationals.
  •  

    FIGURE 58: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN BULGARIAN IWT ON BOARD OF VESSELS BY OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY IN 2020


    Source: Bulgarian Maritime Administration
    Survey of vessel owners and vessel operators.

     

  • The Bulgarian National Employment Agency administers a data registry of Bulgarian nationals employed abroad in non-Bulgarian companies to whom they have provided employment mediation services. From March 2015 until February 2020, the registry contains a total of 36 persons who are employed as part of the nautical crew on board river vessels. Eight of them work in France, seven in Cyprus, six in Switzerland, six in Malta, five in Spain, three in the Netherlands and one in Romania.
  •  
    Croatia

  • In Croatia, IWT plays a quite small role, although the country has direct access to the Danube. In terms of employment, the importance of Croatian IWT has even imploded, from 191 employees in 2009 to just 22 employees in 2017, before slightly recovering to 42 employees in 2018 (The Eurostat SBS figures are slightly higher in most years but follow a very similar trend). As in other countries, the share of women among employees in IWT is very low and lies below 10%.
  •  

    FIGURE 59: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWT IN CROATIA BY GENDER


    Source: Croatian Bureau of Statistics – Annual survey of persons in employment and earnings
     

  • It should be taken into consideration that Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013. This might have impacted its labour market substantially, particularly sectors such as inland navigation, in which labour can be shifted to other Member States quite easily. However, an increasing trend of Croatians emigrating to other EU countries to work in IWT cannot be found, at least not in the German and Austrian (Full freedom of movement for Croatians was only granted by Austria as from 1 July 2020) data. In that context, it should be mentioned that Croatian workers’ free movement was restricted by Germany until 1 July 2015, and by Austria even until 1 July 2020. This could be one reason for the low number of Croatians working in the Austrian and German IWT sector.
  •  
    Serbia

  • In Serbia, around 1,000 persons (employees and self-employed) work in IWT, according to figures from Eurostat SBS and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS) (SORS only gives the number of persons working in water transport as a whole. However, as Serbia is a landlocked country and Eurostat SBS reports only 57 persons employed in sea and coastal water transport in 2018, it is assumed that the numbers are not substantially distorted by sea and coastal water transport). No clear trend in that number has been visible in the last few years. The vast majority of persons are employed in freight transport.
  •  

    FIGURE 60: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT BY TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT IN SERBIA (2017)


    Source: Eurostat SBS, series [sbs_na_1a_se_r2]
     

  • According to the national statistical office (SORS) data, the average monthly gross earnings of persons employed in Serbian IWT amounted to around 616 Euro in 2019 as calculated by that year’s average exchange rate which was around 447 Euro net. The low earnings, also in comparison to other countries outside the EU-15, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, create an incentive to move to countries with higher wages. Indeed, 42 Serbians worked in jobs subject to social security contributions in German IWT in 2019. In Austria, the respective number lies between 57 and 73, depending on how many persons registered in the Austrian AMS database, as citizens of the former Yugoslavia and of Serbia and Montenegro, are now Serbian citizens.
  •  
    Slovakia

  • According to data from the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, employment, including both employees and the self-employed, in Slovakian IWT has gradually decreased from 2010 onwards to reach its lowest point in 2016.
  •  

    FIGURE 61: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT IN SLOVAKIA


    Source: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic
     

  • The average monthly wage of IWT workers in Slovakia increased from 2010 to 2016 with a slight downswing in 2013, and has since somewhat stabilised at a level that is substantially higher than IWT wages in other countries outside the EU-15, such as its neighbouring countries, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The reverse evolution observed between the number of persons employed and the average monthly wage, followed by a stabilisation of both indicators since 2016, could indicate that an equilibrium on the IWT labour market has been found. A slightly decreasing trend in the number of Slovak nationals working in German and Austrian IWT in the last years can also be observed. In 2019, 44 Slovak employees worked in German IWT and 13 in Austrian IWT.
  •  

    FIGURE 62: AVERAGE MONTHLY WAGE IN IWT IN SLOVAKIA (IN EURO)


    Source: Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic
     

  • For Slovakia, service record books data were also made available, but it was decided not to use them given possible doubts as to their reliability.
  •  
    Italy

  • Italian IWT is dominated by the passenger sector. According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the number of employees in that sector has increased gradually and substantially for both men and women between 2013 and 2017.
  • In the same time period, the number of male employees in freight IWT has increased by a comparatively small margin, while the number of women in that sector has stagnated at a low level. In 2017, about 23% of all employees in passenger IWT and about 19% of all employees in freight IWT had temporary contracts. About 13% of the employees in the passenger sector and about 22% of the employees in the freight sector worked part-time. For both sectors, the medium-term trend showed increases. Less than 3% of the employees in passenger IWT and about 5% of the employees in freight IWT did not have Italian citizenship.
  •  

    FIGURE 63: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWT IN ITALY BY SECTOR AND GENDER


    Source: Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT)
     

  • The number of self-employed persons in Italian IWT evolved less positively between 2012 and 2017. The increase in the passenger sector was smaller than for employees and the number in the freight sector decreased slightly. In 2017, about 2% of the self-employed in passenger IWT and about 9% of the self-employed in freight IWT were helping family members.
  •  

    FIGURE 64: NUMBER OF SELF-EMPLOYED IN IWT IN ITALY BY PASSENGER AND FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION


    Source: Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT)
     

  • Counting employees and self-employed together, about 83% of all persons employed in Italian passenger IWT and about 97% of all persons employed in Italian freight IWT, work for companies in the Metropolitan City of Venice. As the ISTAT figures closely resemble the Eurostat SBS figures for Italy, it can be concluded that the nearly 2,000 persons employed in passenger IWT in that region made up for about 9% of all employment in that sector in the EU-28 in that year.
  • The country-by-country analysis in this chapter analyses the labour market in IWT more deeply by taking into account data from various national sources such as statistical offices, social security institutions, ministries, employment agencies and shipping administrations. It was not possible to present all data for the countries in exactly the same way (same indicators, same degree of detail, same methodology, etc.) This lack of consistency could not be avoided, given that the availability of data and the type of data produced in each country vary greatly from one country to another.
  • In addition, in this chapter, numbers may diverge from Eurostat SBS data for multiple reasons. First, unlike the Eurostat SBS numbers, which are based on administrative data, some sources in this chapter rely on survey data. Second, while Eurostat figures are entirely based on the NACE categories, which assign individuals to economic sectors according to their companies’ main activities, some sources in this chapter classify persons according to their individual main occupations.
  • Comparisons between the numbers of different countries in this chapter should be done very carefully due to the possible methodological differences. But such comparisons are of course important and necessary, in order to identify tendencies which could not be evaluated based on Eurostat data only. Another potential source are service record books and certificates of qualification. However, they are often not a reliable source for the extent of employment at any given point in time:
    • as it is not possible to determine whether the holder of a service record book or a qualification certificate is still active or retired and,
    • one person might be in the database with more than one service record book or qualification certificate due to obtaining different ranks or fulfilling the obligation to renew a licence.
  • The availability of fully reliable service record books would be of incredible added value for the statistical monitoring of the labour market in inland navigation. The adoption of the delegated regulation 2020/473 is already a first step towards more reliability of the data registered in service record books.
  •  
    The Netherlands

  • The numbers and full-time equivalents (FTEs) (One FTE corresponds to the workload of one person with a standard full-time contract. As an example, two persons working 20 hours per week each correspond to one FTE if a standard full-time contract comprises 40 hours per week) of employees and all persons employed in Dutch IWT separately are based on sample surveys from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and are presented in figures one to five (Administrative data used for the SBS Eurostat data). Compared to Eurostat, the net hiring of persons from other companies is included in the definition used by CBS for all persons employed, which largely explains the differences observed between CBS and Eurostat data regarding the number of persons employed in the Netherlands. It is estimated by CBS that up to 3,000 persons employed in Dutch IWT in 2017 stemmed from net hiring from foreign companies. This number could also include workers posted to the Netherlands.
  • According to CBS data, employment in IWT in the Netherlands has increased from 2009 to 2018, particularly between 2017 and 2018, both in terms of the number of persons employed and hours worked.
  •  

    FIGURE 1: NUMBER OF FTES AND PERSONS WORKING IN IWT IN THE NETHERLANDS BY EMPLOYMENT STATUS *


    Source: Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
    * The data on all persons employed comprise employees and self-employed.

     

  • A number of companies in passenger and freight transport are rather small and employ only one or two persons. Regarding passenger transport companies, it should be considered that the Netherlands not only have larger river cruise companies but also many smaller companies active in day trip shipping.
  • Since the year 2016, the trends in the number of one-person and two-person companies were far more positive than in the previous years.
  •  

    FIGURE 2: NUMBER OF PASSENGER IWT COMPANIES IN THE NETHERLANDS BY EMPLOYMENT SIZE


    Sources: Statistics Netherlands (CBS), CCNR analysis
     

    FIGURE 3: NUMBER OF FREIGHT IWT COMPANIES IN THE NETHERLANDS BY EMPLOYMENT SIZE


    Sources: Statistics Netherlands (CBS), CCNR analysis
     

  • The licences needed in order to be allowed to operate inland vessels in the Netherlands are issued by the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR). The issuing numbers of all licences have shown an upward trend during the last decade.
  •  

    FIGURE 4: NUMBER OF ISSUED LICENCES BY TYPE OF LICENCE AND YEAR *

    (More information on the scope of and the differences between these licences can be found in Dutch on CBR’s webpage: https://www.cbr.nl/nl/beroepsexamens/binnenvaart/vaardocumenten-en-patenten.htm)


    Sources: CBR, CCNR analysis
    * Certificates for the proof of knowledge of river sections and the Restricted Large Boat Licences A and B are not shown due to their very small number with a maximum of 37 per type and year.

     

  • It should be noted, however, that all considered licences must be renewed when reaching different age thresholds (50, 55, 60, 65 and every year after 65) so that changes in the number of licences issued over time might rather reflect the age structure than actual changes in the number of boatmasters. This consideration can help reconcile the slightly decreasing Eurostat SBS figures with the increasing number of issued certificates. Indeed, the number of licences issued during the last decade clearly peaks at these age thresholds.
  •  

    FIGURE 5: NUMBER OF ISSUED LICENCES FROM 2010 TO 2019 BY AGE*


    Sources: CBR, CCNR analysis
    * Age thresholds for the obligation to renew the licences are marked. From age 65 onwards, an annual renewal is obligatory.

     
    Germany

  • Statistical data on employees in Germany were collected from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (German Federal Employment Agency). These data relate only to employees, not to the self-employed. A first comparison between freight and passenger transport shows that the number of employees in passenger transport has increased, while it slightly decreased in freight transport.
  •  

    FIGURES 6 AND 7: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWW FREIGHT (FIRST CHART) AND PASSENGER (SECOND CHART) TRANSPORT



    Source: Bundesagentur für Arbeit
     

  • The share of foreigners was 34.7% in German IWW freight transport in 2019, compared to only 11.0% in IWW passenger transport. In both segments these shares are on an upward trend.
  •  

    FIGURE 8: SHARE OF FOREIGNERS WITHIN ALL EMPLOYEES IN GERMAN IWT (IN %)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • Even when compared to other branches of the transport sector, the share of foreigners is relatively high in IWW freight transport. It exceeds the share of foreigners in maritime, road and rail freight transport. It is quite likely that such a high share of foreigners of almost 35% reflects to a certain degree also a rather limited attractiveness of inland waterway freight transport as an area of activity for German workers. The reasons why this could be the case might be linked to the specific working life on a vessel, the related working hours, and social aspects.
  •  

    FIGURE 9: SHARE OF GERMANS AND FOREIGNERS AMONG EMPLOYEES IN THE GERMAN TRANSPORT SECTOR (IN %)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • The three most important countries of origin of foreigners working in the German IWW sector are Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania. The number of Czech and Romanian workers increased throughout the time period from 2013 to 2019, while the number of Polish workers increased only until 2016 and then decreased slightly.
  •  

    FIGURE 10: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WITH FOREIGN NATIONALITY IN THE GERMAN INLAND NAVIGATION SECTOR BY NATIONALITY


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
    Data concern both freight and passenger transport.

  • A differentiation by gender reveals a rather high share of male workers in the transport sector overall, with the exception of passenger maritime and coastal transport, where the share between male and female workers approaches a ratio which is more typical of the economy as a whole. In IWW passenger transport, the share of female workers is much higher than in IWW freight transport, most likely due to the gastronomic and service activities which play an important role within passenger transport.
  •  

    FIGURE 11: SHARE OF EMPLOYEES BY GENDER (IN %)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 30 June 2019.

     

  • The distribution of employees according to age groups is currently not very different in IWW freight and passenger transport when compared to other transport modes.
  •  

    FIGURE 12: SHARE OF EMPLOYEES BY AGE GROUP (IN %)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit and CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 30 June 2019.

     

  • Taking into consideration the evolution of age group distributions over time per mode of transport, some important features can be observed.
  • First of all, within the youngest age group (< 25 years), the number of workers in IWW freight transport and in maritime freight transport has decreased since 2015, while it has increased in IWW passenger and in road freight transport. Secondly, employment in maritime freight transport is on a downward trend, which is stronger than the relatively mild overall reduction of employees in IWW freight transport. Thirdly, it can be observed that employment in road transport is increasing in all age groups.
  •  

    FIGURE 13: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN FREIGHT TRANSPORT OVER THE PERIOD 2014-2019 BY AGE GROUPS




    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • With regard to employment in IWW passenger transport, an overall positive employment evolution can be observed, largely attributed to the 55-64 age group.
  •  

    FIGURE 14: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN IWW PASSENGER TRANSPORT OVER THE PERIOD 2014-2019


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • This positive employment trend in IWW passenger transport is also visible when considering the number of apprentices. In particular, the number of male apprentices in passenger transport wincreased in recent years, while the number of male apprentices in freight transport decreased.
  • The average share of female apprentices in the time period 2014-2019 was 12% for IWW freight transport and 21% for IWW passenger transport. The share of female workers in inland navigation is therefore expected to remain relatively low in the next years.
  •  

    FIGURE 15: NUMBER OF APPRENTICES IN GERMAN INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT PER SECTOR AND GENDER


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • The monthly gross median income (A median is a statistical indicator, which should not be confounded with the arithmetic average of a series. The median of a data series, in this case of a wage series, is the value which divides the data series (sorted by size) into two equal halves. 50% of the wages are therefore higher than the median wage, and 50% are lower than the median wage. Compared to the arithmetic average, the median is less influenced by extremely high or extremely low wages. It therefore gives a more realistic picture of the ‘typical’ wage level) for full-time IWW workers under the social security regime in Germany has increased since 2013.
  •  

    FIGURE 16: GROSS MEDIAN INCOME IN PASSENGER AND FREIGHT IWT (IN €)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
     

  • The Bundesagentur für Arbeit also reprocesses data in order to have an overview of the durations of employment relations, subject to social security contributions. In 2018, 1,940 employment relations in passenger IWT and 965 in freight IWT were terminated. A high share (52%) of terminated employment relations with a duration of between 6 to and 12 months in passenger IWT can be observed, providing evidence for a high degree of seasonality in this sector, in particular for river cruises. No such seasonality pattern occurs in freight IWT. Yet, about 38% of all terminated employment relations in this sector lasted less than 6 months in 2018.
  •  

    FIGURE 17: SHARE OF DURATIONS OF EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS TERMINATED IN 2018 (IN %)


    Sources: Bundesagentur für Arbeit, CCNR analysis
    Only employment relations subject to social security contributions.

     

  • So far, the data presented on German IWT concern only employees. In addition, the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis) provides data for the entirety of persons employed in German IWT, thus including the self-employed. It differentiates between persons employed on board vessels and persons employed ashore. The number of persons employed aboard vessels remained fairly constant between 2014 and 2018 and the number of persons employed ashore only increased substantially between 2017 and 2018.
  • More detailed information is available for the year 2017 when 697 of the 5,113 persons working aboard a vessel in that year were self-employed (vessel owners or their helping family members). When looking at employment by the size of enterprises and the place of work (aboard or ashore), it can be observed that persons working ashore rather work for larger enterprises.
  •  

    FIGURE 18: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT IN GERMANY*IN 2017 BY EMPLOYMENT SIZE OF THE ENTERPRISE AND PLACE OF WORK


    Source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis)
    All data are from 30 June 2017.
    *Excluding 112 persons employed in internal company or factory traffic as differentiation by employment size is incomplete.

     
    Belgium

  • Data for the number of self-employed and employees in the IWT sector in Belgium are taken from databases of the national insurance organisations in Belgium (INASTI for the self-employed and ONSS for the employees). According to INASTI, in 2019, 1,211 self-employed persons in Belgium belonged to the professional group of barge owner-operators. According to ONSS, in 2019, there 711 employees in Belgium were working in inland waterway transport. According to these organisations, the figures cover both freight and passenger transport.
  •  

    FIGURE 19: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES AND SELF-EMPLOYED IN IWT IN BELGIUM


    Sources: INASTI, ONSS
     

  • The increase in the number of employees from 2006 to 2007 mirrors a structural break in the data. Before 2007, helping family members were not counted as employees in the ONSS data.
  • Overall employment has been decreasing for a long time in Belgium. Since the year 2015, a kind of stabilization has been taking place to some extent, thanks to a small increase in the number of employees, and a less pronounced decrease of self-employed. The reasons for this decline will be explained as far as possible in the following paragraphs.
  •  

    FIGURE 20: NUMBER OF SELF-EMPLOYED BARGE OWNER-OPERATORS IN BELGIUM BY GENDER


    Source: INASTI

  • In 2018, among the 784 male self-employed persons, 705 were self-employed barge owners, 24 were spouses of female self-employed and 55 belonged to the category of other helping family members.
  • In 2018, with 453 female self-employed persons, 114 were self-employed barge owners, 279 were spouses of male self-employed, and 60 belonged to the category of other helping family members.
  • The number of self-employed barge owner-operators decreased between 2003 and 2015. After 2015, the decrease was still present but became less pronounced. When differentiating by age groups, it is seen that the reduction was especially strong within younger entrepreneurs, both in absolute and in relative terms. For example, the number of self-employed belonging to the age group 40-44 approximately halved between 2003 and 2018 (a reduction from 254 to 125 self-employed). For the age group 35-39, the figures decreased by even more than 50%, from 208 self-employed in 2003 to 93 in 2018. For the age group 30-34, the reduction was again around 50%.
  • For older age groups, the decrease was either less pronounced, or there was no decrease at all. This is the case for persons in the age group 60-64 and the age group of persons older than 65. The number of self-employed in these age groups even increased.
  • In the years following the financial crisis of 2009, an acceleration in the decrease in the number of self-employed is seen, mainly for younger age groups.
  •  

    FIGURE 21: NUMBER OF SELF-EMPLOYED IN BELGIUM BY AGE GROUP (AGED 18-44)


    Sources: INASTI, CCNR analysis
    Numbers include the self-employed and the assisting family members.

     

    FIGURE 22: NUMBER OF SELF-EMPLOYED IN BELGIUM BY AGE GROUP (AGED 45 AND OLDER)


    Sources: INASTI, CCNR analysis
    Numbers include the self-employed and the assisting family members.

     

  • Overall, the data point to the fact that the financial crisis in 2009 did have a very negative effect on the economic conditions in the segment of self-employed barge owners in Belgium. The impacts on the numbers of self-employed is different according to age groups. The reduction was most severe for younger age groups, and less severe for older age groups. Apart from the financial crisis, there is also evidence for a decrease in the number of younger entrepreneurs that had already started well before the financial crisis. This pre-financial crisis decrease is apparent for persons aged between 30 and 44. It would therefore be wrong to attribute the whole decrease in Belgian self-employed barge owner-operators only to the financial crisis. Other factors, linked with company succession and the attractiveness of the sector to younger persons, will very likely play another role.
  • In any case, the data show without doubt that, in the last 17 years, there has been a significant degree of ageing within the group of self-employed barge owner-operators in Belgium. This ageing is best visible when looking at the increase of self-employed persons aged 60 and above and the sharp decrease of persons aged 49 or younger.
  • The fact that age groups 55-59 and 60-64 did not experience a major drop in numbers after 2009 and that the age group ’65 and older’ even increased in numbers, can be explained by several factors.
    • Firstly, an important aspect is that for older entrepreneurs, the option of leaving the inland navigation sector and working either ashore or in another sector when a major economic crisis appears, is less likely than for younger entrepreneurs.
    • Secondly, for self-employed barge owners, the vessel also represents an asset which can be sold on retirement. However, vessel prices dropped sharply in the wake of the financial crisis in 2009, when the reduction in demand created significant overcapacity, so that there were less incentives or even possibilities to sell the vessel at a reasonable price and to retire.
    • Thirdly, the increase in numbers within the age group 60-64 and 65 and older is partly also the result of age cohorts ‘moving’ into these age groups over time (over a period of 15 years). The fact that younger age groups did not increase in size, but got smaller, shows that there were simply not enough individuals among younger age groups entering the IWT market.
    • Fourthly, in explaining this phenomenon, the topic of company succession as discussed in chapter 1c) might play a substantial role. As it is becoming more difficult for younger persons to engage in IWT as self-employed, older owner-operators might find it increasingly difficult to find a purchaser for their vessels, or to hand over their vessels to their children.
  • Regarding the regional distribution of Belgian self-employed, it can be seen that the province of Antwerp is ranked first, followed by the province of Hainaut and then East and West Flanders.
  •  

    FIGURE 23: INDEPENDENT BARGE OWNERS IN BELGIUM ACCORDING TO PROVINCE*


    Sources: INASTI, CCNR analysis
    *The province indicated is the province where the self-employed person is living.

     

    Employees

  • One important similarity can be observed when comparing the figures for employees and self-employed in Belgium. After 2009, the number of employees fell, especially for persons aged between 25 and 49 years. For employees aged 50 and older, there was an increase in the number of employees aged between 50 and 64 until 2014, and for persons aged between 55 and 64, this increase continued also after 2014. A difference compared to the self-employed is that the age group above 64 has not increased in numbers. This is understandable in light of aspects related to company succession. The tendency of the self-employed to continue their activity at a higher age is a general pattern observed, and not limited to inland navigation.
  •  

    FIGURE 24: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN BELGIUM PER AGE GROUP (AGED 15-44)


    Source: ONSS
     

    FIGURE 25: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN BELGIUM PER AGE GROUP (AGED 45 AND OLDER)


    Source: ONSS
     

  • While the prevalence of younger persons has clearly decreased over the last years, the number of persons in their late 50s has been remarkably stable during this time and even increased in 2018 and 2019.
  • Only about half of the employees in IWT are still active between 60 and 64, although Belgium’s legal requirement age for retirement is 65. However, in 2018, Belgians on average effectively retired at the age of 61.8, the fourth-lowest value of all OECD countries (OECD, Pensions at a Glance 2019, November 2019). In combination with persons in their late 50s, this also means that an above-average share of employees in Belgian IWT will presumably retire in the next few years.
  • Only a small share of employees is still active after the legal retirement age. This stands in stark contrast to the extensive work activity in that age group for the self-employed, which has even substantially and lastingly increased in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis. In 2018, on average two-thirds of all employed persons in Belgian IWT were self-employed, which increased with age and culminated at around 93% for those aged 65 and older. As previously explained, this is probably due to the, often, difficult financial situation of the older self-employed in Belgian IWT.
  •  

    FIGURE 26: SHARE OF SELF-EMPLOYED AMONG ALL PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT IN BELGIUM (2018) (IN %)


    Sources: INASTI, ONSS, CCNR analysis
     
    France

  • Dares (Direction de l’Animation de la recherche, des Études et des Statistiques), the statistical office of the French Ministry of Labour, collects and maintains rich data on employees in France that work under the regulations of sectoral collective bargaining agreements. The self-employed are thus not covered by the Dares data.
  • For the field of inland navigation, there is a total of three collective labour agreements marked by different identifiers (IDCCs), one for passenger transport (“Navigation intérieure passagers”), one for persons employed on board vessels in freight transport (“Navigation intérieure de marchandises ouvriers“) and the last for shore-based personnel mainly in freight transport such as in ports or for transport logistics (“Navigation intérieure de marchandises sédentaire”). However, there are plans to merge these three collective agreements in the future which will possibly make it more difficult, from a statistical point of view, to differentiate between passenger and freight IWT employees.
  • The Dares data enable the comparison of employees under these inland navigation collective agreements with:
    • the whole population of employees under collective agreements (referred to in the following as “all agreements”), therefore covering all economic sectors of activity in France, and,
    • all employees under collective agreements in the whole transport sector (CRIS), including road, rail, air, maritime and inland navigation transport.
  • This makes it possible to uncover particularities of employment in the inland navigation sector and thus facilitates the understanding of its structure. However, it must be noted that the Dares data are not directly comparable to Eurostat SBS (Structural Business Statistics) data as the pool of employees covered is not the same. Indeed, the assignment to a certain collective agreement does not necessarily correspond to the assignment to a related NACE category, on which Eurostat data and data from national statistical institutes such as INSEE (Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques) in the case of France are based. Instead, a substantial share of employees covered by the relevant collective agreements are classified into NACE categories, other than inland navigation, such as that for road freight transport. Yet, this does not mean that they less accurately embrace employment on board of vessels in inland navigation. On the contrary, a strength of the Dares data is that not only do they include employees working exclusively in the inland navigation transport sector, but also those who work in companies with a main activity other than inland navigation, such as multi-modal logistics companies, but who are working in the IWT sector. Such employees are generally not covered by Eurostat data.
  • On the cut-off date of 31 December 2016, about 2,900 persons (1,600 on board and 1,300 ashore) were employed under the collective agreement for workers in IWW freight transport. These 2,900 persons accounted for about 2,700 full-time equivalents (FTEs). This difference probably stems from some persons working part-time. Additionally, about 2,800 persons were subject to the collective agreement for employees in IWW passenger transport, accounting for about 3,500 FTEs. As one FTE corresponds to a standard French full-time contract of 35 working hours per week, this implies a working time of nearly 44 hours per week in case of a full-time contract or a corresponding proportionate working time in the event of having a part-time contract. This observation corroborates the assumption that a great deal of overtime is accumulated by employees working on board vessels in passenger transport where a high number of working hours is common, particularly on river cruises during the peak of the river cruise season. In addition, it can be the case that crew members want to earn as much as they can by working longer hours to support their family for instance, or might prefer to accumulate their days off in favour of longer holidays with their family at home once the season is over.
  • All in all, these numbers indicate that the employment share of inland navigation in overall transport in France is only between 0.4% and 0.5% when leaving aside the self-employed. Nevertheless, the absolute numbers are higher than the respective Eurostat SBS figures. Large parts of the difference can be explained by the fact that more employees work in a company with a main activity other than IWT (and are thus not classified as working in IWT by Eurostat or INSEE) but are still covered by an IWT collective agreement, rather than vice versa.
  • When analysing the socio-demographic structure of the workforce, an important characteristic is the age of the employees. The Dares data give the shares of employees belonging to pre-defined age groups. The IWW sector, particularly the passenger transport segment, has a comparatively high share of young employees. About 31% of the employees in IWW passenger transport and about 19% to 23% of the employees in IWW freight transport are under 30 years old while this only applies to about 15% in the overall transport sector, and to about 22% of all employees subject to collective bargaining agreements. On the contrary, IWW passenger transport has comparatively few employees aged between 50 and 59.
  • IWW freight transport has a slightly above average share of employees of 60 years of age or older, particularly regarding persons working on board vessels. This implies that a relatively high share of employees will retire in the forthcoming years compared to other sectors, unless they continue to work after reaching retirement age, a phenomenon that is relatively common for persons working on board inland navigation vessels.
  • FIGURE 27: RELATIVE DISTRIBUTION OF EMPLOYEES ACROSS AGE GROUPS (IN %)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • Furthermore, inland navigation is a very male-dominated sector, albeit a little less so than all transport sectors together. Slightly more than 70% of the employees in IWW freight transport in France are men (compared to 77% if all transport sectors are taken into account). With a female share of employment of more than a third, IWW passenger transport is a peculiarity within the transport sector. This is probably caused by a higher number of women among the hospitality staff on board river cruise vessels. In practice, the share of female workers on board is probably underestimated as spouses who help are often not “officially” counted as working personnel on board inland navigation vessels.
  •  

    FIGURE 28: SHARE OF EMPLOYEES BY GENDER (IN %)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • Moreover, in IWW freight transport in France, between 29% and 36% of employees are employed in small companies with less than 10 employees, while this share amounts to only about 9% when considering the whole transport sector. On the contrary, only about 16% of the employees in IWW passenger transport are employed in companies with less than 10 employees. Employment in larger companies is thus more common in passenger than in freight transport. It should be noted that about one-third of all employees in IWW passenger transport are employed by one single company.
  •  

    FIGURE 29: SHARE OF EMPLOYEES BY EMPLOYMENT SIZE OF ENTERPRISE (IN%)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • Another data source for company size in French inland navigation is the French national statistical office INSEE. Based on the NACE concept, about 98% of the companies (representing about 42% of the FTEs) in freight IWT and about 90% of the companies (representing about 11% of the FTEs) in passenger IWT employed less than 10 persons in 2017. About 58% of the FTEs in freight transport and about 63% of the FTEs in passenger transport worked on board vessels.
  • The lower share of employees working in large companies based on INSEE data seems to confirm the hypothesis according to which a substantial number of employees are working for larger multi-purpose companies, with a focus other than IWW freight or passenger transport, and which are considered in the Dares figures but not in the INSEE figures.
  • Given the Dares data, the part-time share of employees in IWT in France is all in all quite low compared to the transport sector and the economy as a whole. This notably applies to women in passenger IWT. However, as is generally in the case regarding the whole economy, the share is distinctly higher for women than for men.
  • The share of women or men employed under a fixed-term contract usually lies in the same order of magnitude in the IWT sector as in the transport sector and throughout the whole economy. However, it can be noted that men in passenger IWT are far more likely to be employed under a fixed-term contract than men in other sectors.
  • In order to examine the structure of the French IWT labour market as best as possible, it is also useful to look more closely at the wages that to a large extent naturally determine the attractiveness of a sector. The Dares data give the average monthly net wage of an FTE for three age groups. It is striking that the initial wage level is quite similar across the different sectors, although it is slightly lower in the IWT sector compared to the rest of the transport sector and the whole economy. Wage increases of individuals over time, however, differ strongly between sectors.
  • Compared to all other considered sectors, the increase of wages when growing older is lower in freight IWT on board and higher in freight IWT on land. Concerning the wage level in passenger IWT, it is worth taking into consideration that due to the high amount of monthly hours worked in this sector, the monthly net income is about 25% higher than the monthly net wage of an FTE. This is not the case for employees covered by the two freight IWT collective agreements for which monthly income is even slightly below the monthly wage of an FTE as they work fewer hours than foreseen in a standard contract.
  •  

    FIGURE 30: AVERAGE MONTHLY NET WAGE OF A FTE BY AGE GROUP (IN €)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • It is important to know that the wages studied so far are average wages of all people in a specific sector. Thus, one could falsely conclude that employees in freight IWT on board are considerably underpaid in comparison to other sectors. However, this interpretation is challenged when analysing wages separately for different occupational categories. Indeed, about 90% of all employees covered by the collective agreement for freight IWT on board are blue-collar workers (“ouvriers”) and the approximate remaining 10% are in an intermediary positions (“profession intermédiaire”) between white-collar workers (“employés”) and managers (“cadres”), while the latter two categories are by definition not included in this collective agreement. This means that there is a large predominance of occupational categories with typically lower wages. The share of blue-collar workers is substantially lower among employees of the two other IWT collective agreements.
  •  

    FIGURE 31: SHARE OF OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY (IN %)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • These differences can explain a large part of the wage differentials. As shown in the figure below, the average wage of employees in freight IWT on board is not lower than that of other sectors when examined by occupational category. Furthermore, it is evident that the average wages of an FTE in the other occupational categories in passenger IWT are comparatively low, bearing in mind that this is probably largely due to more hours worked. Taking this fact into account, it can, all in all, still be concluded that the IWT sector in France, when adjusting for occupational classifications, pays its employees competitive wages when compared to the transport sector and the economy as a whole.
  •  

    FIGURE 32: AVERAGE MONTHLY NET WAGE OF AN FTE BY OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY (IN €)


    Sources: Dares, CCNR analysis
    Situation as at 31 December 2016

     

  • In addition to Dares on the one hand, and the closely related INSEE and Eurostat on the other hand, there is a third major data source for France, the Central Agency for Social Security Bodies (ACOSS – “Agence Centrale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale”), which is also based on the NACE categories. Based on this data source, it can be seen that the administrative region ‘Grand Est’ (Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne) is the most important region for passenger IWT employment with more than 50% of all the employees in passenger IWT in France, followed by the region Île-de-France, which accounts for another quarter. The high amount of employment in the Grand Est region in passenger transport could also be explained by the fact that the French river cruise company CroisiEurope is based in Strasbourg in Alsace.
  • Normandie is in the lead when considering the number of employees in freight IWT, followed by Hauts-de-France. Both regions together account for more than half of all employees in the freight sector.
  •  

    FIGURE 33: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN PASSENGER IWT PER REGION IN 2018


    Sources: ACOSS, CCNR analysis
     

    FIGURE 34: NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN FREIGHT IWT PER REGION IN 2018


    Sources: ACOSS, CCNR analysis
     
    Switzerland

  • As was indicated earlier, Switzerland has the largest average number of persons employed per company in European IWT. This is due to the sizeable role of two market segments, tanker barging and river cruises, in Swiss inland navigation. Both market segments are characterised by company structures with a rather high number of employees. In addition, both segments play an important role in the Swiss inland navigation sector.
  • It can also be observed that the Swiss freight fleet is the youngest of all Rhine countries, in terms of years of construction (Source: CCNR/European Commission (2020), Inland Navigation in Europe. Annual market observation report). The main reason is that Switzerland has a very modern tanker barge fleet. The average loading capacity of Swiss tanker barges was 3,023 tonnes in 2019, compared to an average of 2,134 tonnes for the whole tanker barge fleet of Rhine countries. Next to the year of construction statistics mentioned above, the high loading capacity of Swiss tanker barges also confirms that Swiss tanker barges are rather new, as the loading capacity of new tanker barges in western Europe has in general increased over the years. It points also to a relatively high investment rate and modern company structures in Swiss tanker barging.
  • In 2017, there were 48 freight IWT companies and 67 passenger IWT companies in Switzerland. In 2017, 597 persons were employed in freight IWT and 2,091 persons in passenger IWT. The employment in IWW freight transport in Switzerland was rather constant in the time period 2011 to 2017, while employment in passenger transport increased (see figure below).
  • Passenger transport enjoys a higher employment than freight transport in Switzerland. The country has many lakes, with many day trip vessels, and Switzerland also has by far the largest fleet of river cruise vessels within the whole cruise fleet in Europe. In 2019, 172 river cruise vessels sailing on European rivers were registered in Switzerland, compared to a total of 378 cruise vessels in the whole of Europe (without Russia). This gives a share of 45.5%.
  • Looking at the development in both sectors by gender from 2011 to 2017, it can be seen that the only clear and substantial development was for men in passenger IWT, whose number showed a steady upwards trend.
  •  

    FIGURE 35: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT IN SWITZERLAND BY SECTOR AND GENDER


    Source: Federal Statistical Office – Structural Enterprise Statistics
     

  • Compared to other Rhine countries such as Belgium, France or the Netherlands, relatively few persons employed in Swiss IWT work in small enterprises with less than 10 employed persons. In 2017, only about 6% (5% of FTEs) in the passenger and 22% (20% of FTEs) in the freight sector worked in such small companies.
  • The regulations on the posting of workers have been defined by the rules of Directive 96/71/EC of 16 December 1996, as amended by Directive 2018/957 (hereafter referred to as the “Posted Workers Directive” (PWD)). According to the PWD, a posted worker is a worker who, for a limited period, carries out his/her work in the territory of a Member State other than the State in which he/she normally works. The Posted Workers Directive clarifies that when sent by their employer to another Member State to carry out a service on the employer’s behalf, core terms and conditions of employment, such as minimum paid holidays, minimum rest time, maximum working time, remuneration, etc. will have to be applied according to host Member State rules, while the rest of the conditions will be governed by the law applicable to the employment relationship. In case of a long-term posting, which exceeds 12 months (or 18 months in case of motivated notification made by the employer), all terms and conditions of the host Member State will become applicable.
  • With regard to social security, Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, provides for an exception to the lex loci laboris rule. It allows for a person working as an employed person in the territory of a Member State – on behalf of an employer that normally carries out its activities in that State, and who is sent by that employer to another Member State to perform work there for that employer – continues to be subject to the legislation of the posting State provided that the anticipated duration of that work does not exceed 24 months, and he or she is not sent to replace another person. The same rules apply with respect to self-employed persons who pursue an activity as a self-employed person in a Member State and who go to pursue a similar activity in another Member State. This means that social security contributions are paid according to the legislation of the employer’s home state or where the self-employed person is established (the “sending state”).
  • EU legislation does not determine which country can tax the work income during a posting (https://inhouse-legal.eu/current-development/european-union-labour-authority-challenges/: « if a worker is posted for a period of less than six months, he or she does not become liable to pay income tax in the country of destination. » (Regulation 883/2004). « However, there are no EU-wide laws laying down which country can tax income during a posting. This may be set out in national laws or tax agreements between EU countries »). This is subject to national law and tax agreements between the countries concerned and also applies to employers established outside the European Union.
  • The PWD was revised, and by 30 July 2020, Directive (2018/957) had to be transposed into national legislation. All sectors, with the exception of the international road transport sector (see below), are now subject to the payment of ‘remuneration’ and all its mandatory elements. While to date posted workers were only guaranteed the minimum rates of pay of the host Member State, they are now entitled to domestic collective bargaining wages (stemming from universally applicable collective agreements) including premiums for qualification or seniority and also to all additional benefits such as holiday and Christmas allowances, so that the rules of remuneration must be the same for posted workers as for local workers. This is aimed to close the partly large wage differences between posted and local workers. In addition, the new directive demands that posted temporary agency workers are treated equally to local temporary agency workers in the case of basic terms and conditions of employment.
  • These new regulations do not apply to the road transport sector for which a separate legislative act amending Directive 2006/22/EC has been adopted because of the “highly mobile nature of work” (Recital 15 of the 2018 Posted Workers Reform Directive) in this sector and the “particular legal questions and difficulties” (ibid) this poses, such as – probably – the transit issue. Inland navigation shares many characteristics with road transport but is not covered by a dedicated legislation. Whether it would be appropriate to introduce a specific directive on posting in inland waterways should be subject to a thorough assessment.
  • There are indeed diverging views to what extent the PWD Directive applies to workers in some inland waterway cross-border transport activities, in particular when the performance of their work does not have a sufficient connection with that territory. Although it does not directly concern international transport services, the Dobersberger case C-16/18 has indeed highlighted that a “sufficient connection with the territory of a (host) Member State” is necessary in order for the worker to be considered as a posted worker.
  • The Enforcement Directive on posting of workers and Directive 96/71, as amended by Directive 2018/957, give Member States tools to prevent abuse and circumvention of rules and to ensure effective monitoring of compliance with the obligations set in the Posting Directives. These include the use of administrative cooperation between competent authorities, the possibility to put in place administrative requirements and control measures, and criteria for identification of a genuine posting. In order to oppose the phenomenon of letter-box companies that used posting in order to fraudulently exploit lower labour and social security standards in some countries, the Enforcement Directive was transposed into national law by the Member States on 16 June 2016. Nevertheless, problems can arise even if posting regulations themselves are enforced properly.
  • The report on the implementation of the Enforcement Directive on Posting of Workers (COM(2019) 426 final https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2019:426:FIN) shows that the administrative requirements put in place in Member States have helped monitoring compliance by companies with the rules and ensuring the rights of posted workers. The report also notes that there are divergences between the different national systems. The main issue in relation to posting in the inland navigation sector relates to their implementation.
  • Concerning social security, whereas all employment of a cross-border nature such as inland navigation is subject to Reg 883/2004, there is a distinction between the case of workers pursuing activities in two or more Member States (covered by Article 13) and the case of posted workers (covered by Article 12 as mentioned above). Article 13 provides for a person who is normally working in two or more Member States to be subject to the legislation of the Member State of residence, if this person pursues a substantial part of his/her activity in that Member State or, if that is not the case, to the Member State in which the registered office or place of business of the company employing him/her is situated.
  • Regarding the characteristics of employment of posted workers, general indications can be drawn from a report by the European Commission (European Commission (2016)) published in 2016. It finds that, although there are no official statistics on the earnings of posted workers, they presumably earn less than comparable local workers in the host states, at least in the “older” EU Member States that have a higher average wage level. Construction and transport workers are particularly specified in this context.
  • The importance of posting of workers in European IWT is not easily assessable as quantitative information on this topic is scarce. In principle, the quantity could be vaguely assessed by the number of Portable Documents (PDs) A1 issued by social security institutions of the respective sending states in case of posting. However, in the European Commission’s annual “Report on A1 Portable Documents issued” (The latest version is De Wispelaere et al. (2019), relating to the year 2018), which finds that only about 0.6% of total EU employment of full-time equivalents in 2018 could be attributed to holders of PDs A1, the number of PDs A1 issued to persons working in IWT is unfortunately not given. This is because it is not requested in the questionnaire (See Annex 3 of De Wispelaere et al. (2019)) used to gain information from the national delegations of the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems. Instead, there is only a breakdown of the “mariners” category, for which Croatia and Malta are the most important sending states. Apart from freight transport by road, no other more detailed category is reported. Furthermore, posted workers are not explicitly labelled in the Eurostat SBS database but instead included as employees in employment agencies (NACE category N78). Thus, they are not counted as such in the companies where they are placed and, consequently, nor are they counted as persons working in IWT.
  • Apparently, the lack of statistical information on the (sectoral) structure of posting has been recognised by Member States and the European institutions, and it could be expected that in the future more detailed information will be available. Recital 5 of the Posted Workers Reform Directive demands the following: “Sufficient and accurate statistical data in the area of posted workers is of utmost importance, in particular with regard to the number of posted workers in specific employment sectors and per Member State. The Member States and the Commission should collect and monitor such data.” The new European Labour Authority (ELA) that started operations in October 2019 is furthermore supposed to shed light on fair mobility in the European Union, including the posting of workers, other topics of social security coordination between Member States and the monitoring of compliance with EU labour law rules in the case of mobile workers.
  • The data that are arguably best suited for a country-by-country comparison of employment statistics per sector in Europe are the Eurostat structural business statistics (SBS) data. However, minor differences in data collection between countries still prevail, e. g. due to a different counting of foreign branches of local enterprises and vice versa. The Eurostat SBS data are based on administrative data and collected by the national statistical institutes according to rules commonly agreed upon and available at NACE (Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community) levels. For inland navigation, this means that there are mainly two relevant categories, namely inland passenger water transport (NACE category 50.3) and inland freight water transport (NACE category 50.4). It should be noted that these NACE categories include employment on board of vessels but not the employment of loading and unloading activities in ports and the operation of transport infrastructure (some information regarding port workers are however included at the end of this chapter). Thus, the figures provided in this chapter should not be understood as exhaustive figures on the numbers of jobs created by inland navigation activities as a whole. Such an understanding would underestimate the importance of inland navigation.
  • One shortcoming of the fact that Eurostat SBS data are collected at the company level is that people working for companies with primary activities other than inland navigation are not necessarily counted as being employed in inland navigation even if they actually work on board of vessels on inland waterways. This particularly applies to employees of temporary employment agencies. Even if they work in inland navigation on board of vessels, they are considered to be an employee of their temporary employment agency and thus counted as part of a different NACE category. This also leads to an underestimation of the number of persons working in inland navigation.
  • Another problem with the Eurostat SBS data is that the datasets are incomplete for many countries. While all or nearly all relevant data are available for Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovakia, crucial data for the purpose of this report such as the number of employed persons (Persons employed are self-employed, helping family members and employees) or employees are not available for some years for relevant IWT countries such as Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, France and Bulgaria.
  • This being said, the data collection at company level also has a distinct advantage. It largely prevents double counting that could occur due to the multinational character of European inland navigation if personnel were counted at the place of work instead of the location of their companies.
  • According to the Eurostat Structural Business Statistics, the total number of persons employed in the transport of goods and passengers on inland waterways in Europe amounted to approximately 48,266 in 2018, of whom around 53% are in passenger transport and the other 47% in freight transport. Since 2011, the number of persons employed in the passenger transport sector has continuously increased.
  • It is clear that Germany is the most important country for passenger transport in terms of employment, while the Netherlands has the undisputed leading role for freight transport. For passenger transport, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, France and Switzerland are also major countries. For freight transport, other important countries coming close to the Netherlands are Germany, France, Romania and Serbia.
  •  

    FIGURE 1: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWW PASSENGER TRANSPORT IN EUROPE *


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * Missing values are imputed by linear extrapolation.

     

    FIGURE 2: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWW FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN EUROPE *


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * Missing values are imputed by linear extrapolation.

     

    FIGURE 3: SHARE OF PASSENGER TRANSPORT WITHIN IWW EMPLOYMENT IN EUROPE * (%)


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * Missing values in country-level employment are imputed by linear extrapolation.
    * EU-27 plus the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Serbia.

     

  • Between 2014 and 2018, the number of persons employed in IWW passenger transport in the European Union increased in nearly all EU countries. Decreases were only reported in Poland, Finland and Croatia.
  •  

    FIGURE 4: DIFFERENCE IN THE NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWW PASSENGER TRANSPORT IN 2018 COMPARED TO 2014 *


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * The value for Finland is from 2013.

     

  • The situation looks very different for employment in IWW freight transport as the overall number of persons employed in the European Union in this sector decreased. While the strongest decrease between 2014 and 2018 was recorded in Germany, employment increased most strongly in France.
  •  

    FIGURE 5: DIFFERENCE IN THE NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWW FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN 2018 COMPARED TO 2014


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
     

  • Switzerland has the largest average number of persons employed per company as its market is dominated by large river cruise companies (passenger sector) and tanker barging companies (freight sector). In tanker barging, the average company size is larger than in dry cargo transport. The Swiss structure contrasts sharply with the highly fragmented market structure prevailing in most other Rhine countries. This structure is made up of a large number of small family businesses in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands that own or operate one or two dry cargo vessels. Germany has an intermediary market structure, where the degree of fragmentation is not as high as in its western neighbouring countries but higher than in its southern neighbouring country Switzerland.
  • In Danube countries, the market structure of freight transport is influenced by previously state-owned companies. As a result, the Danube company sector has a higher share of larger companies.
  •  

    FIGURE 6: NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED PER COMPANY PER COUNTRY IN 2017 *


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * Freight transport: 2016 for Bulgaria, 2015 for Hungary.
    * Persons employed are self-employed, helping family members and employees.

     

  • On average in the European Union, there are around five persons employed per inland waterway transport company (average of passenger and freight transport). Of course, this number is largely influenced by Germany and the Netherlands where, in 2017, respectively 82% and 97% of the companies had fewer than 10 persons employed (Sources: Destatis and CBS).
  • One should also highlight the difference between freight transport and passenger transport. Their weight in terms of the labour market is today more or less equal throughout Europe but the evolution over the past years has been different. While the size of the workforce is characterised by a decrease in freight transport employment between 2012 to 2018, the passenger transport sector successively registered a steady increase in employment between 2012 and 2018.
  • In addition to the substantial increase in the passenger transport workforce since 2013, one should also note that positions in inland navigation passenger transport are less and less impacted by seasonal breaks, leading to more stable career opportunities. Indeed, technological reasons, such as the use of modern cruise vessels or the use of single paddlewheel, and operational reasons such as a wider offer of cruise types, have considerably extended the service period for passenger transport.
  •  

    FIGURE 7: EVOLUTION OF EMPLOYMENT IN PASSENGER AND FREIGHT INLAND WATERWAYS TRANSPORT IN THE EU-28 (INDEX 2012 = 100) *


    Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
    * For 2015, data are missing.

     

  • Eurostat SBS data are arguably the best source for the country by country comparison of employment figures. However, national institutions often have data that differ from the respective Eurostat SBS data, most probably due to methodological differences that are often hard to pin down.
  • Whereas the Eurostat numbers of all persons employed in IWT per country are available until 2018, separations into employees and self-employed (including unpaid family members) are to date only available until 2017. Furthermore, this separation is not available for Switzerland for any year.
  • The prevalence of self-employment in IWT is much higher in western Europe than in eastern Europe where, apart from Poland and passenger transport in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the figures are very low. This phenomenon can probably be explained by the historical fact that self-employment was almost non-existent in socialist economic systems.
  •  

    FIGURE 8: EVOLUTION OF THE NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED IN IWT BY TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT AND COUNTRY






    * For 2013, 2014 and 2015, data are missing.

    * For 2008 and 2009, data are missing.



    * For 2010 and 2011, data are missing.




    * For 2009, 2010 and 2011, data are missing.

    * For 2009 and 2010, data are missing.


    * For 2016, 2017 and 2018, data are missing.

    * For 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, data are missing.

    * For 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, data are missing.

    * For 2013, data are missing.


    * For 2009, data are missing.

    * For 2013, data are missing.
    Source: Eurostat SBS, series [sbs_na_1a_se_r2]

 
 

Estimation regarding inland port workers in Europe

    (Estimation from the European Federation of Inland ports based on various sources)

  • Inland port workers are not included in the total number of workers in freight and passenger transport on inland waterways considered in the SBS Eurostat database. However, it is possible to provide some estimations, based on two methods explained below.
  • According to a recent study (Source: CML Fraunhofer, Untersuchung der volkswirtschaftlichen Bedeutung der deutschen See- und Binnenhäfen auf Grundlage ihrer Beschäftigungswirkung, p. 51) performed in 2019, it is estimated that the work of 360,000 employees (direct and indirect) is generated by the activity of German inland ports. According to a recent Dutch study, 64,400 direct employees can be linked to Dutch inland ports (Source: UPT Erasmus, Binnenhavenmonitor 2019, Economische betekenis van de binnenhavens in Nederland in 2018). Applying the indirect value calculation used in the study, direct and indirect employment generated by Dutch inland ports would amount to 103,000 employees. A total of 463,000 persons would therefore correspond to the number of jobs generated by inland port activities in these two countries. According to the CCNR 2019 Annual report (Source: Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine, 2019 European Inland Navigation Market Observation annual report), the Netherlands and Germany together constitute 72% of all goods transported on European waterways.
  • Using this size as the benchmark for linear interpolation, an estimation of the total employment effect (direct and indirect) in the European inland ports sector would constitute 643,000 employees.
  • Inland navigation workers are key drivers for inland navigation dynamics, and it is very important for inland navigation to be sufficiently appealing, especially towards young talents with entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mindsets. Today, there is a shortage of qualified personnel at management level. In addition, the lack of qualified boatmasters can generally be observed, especially in tank vessel operation. Furthermore, a sufficient number of highly qualified personnel are needed in the emerging passenger navigation market. Ensuring the attractiveness of the sector and a high-quality education are therefore paramount.
  • Figure 1 shows the evolution of the number of apprentices in Germany in the inland navigation sector. Following a strong decrease in the 1990s, the number of apprentices in the inland navigation sector increased in Germany between 2000 and 2009 in a catch-up effect. As in other sectors, the number of apprentices decreased between 2009 and 2016 with a higher number of young people taking up university education and the economic crisis in the inland navigation industry.
  • However, for the first time in the last decade, a considerable increase followed in the years after 2016. Altogether, the evolution in the number of apprentices since the year 2000 could be explained by the economic boom (2000-2008) and recession (2009-2015) during this period of time, which also had a strong impact on the IWT industry, and which could have influenced the tendency of young people entering the industry. The period from 2016 to 2019 might not be called a boom, but it was at least a time when the inland navigation industry recovered from the financial crisis of 2009.
  • In 2019, 27 of the 405 apprentices were female. In the last years, no positive trend in the number of female apprentices is visible.
  •  

    FIGURE 1: EVOLUTION OF THE NUMBER OF APPRENTICES IN THE INLAND NAVIGATION SECTOR IN GERMANY


    Source: Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag)
     

  • Despite the increase in the number of apprentices since 2016, the percentage of employees (Employees being those workers who are subject to social security contributions) under the age of 25 gradually decreased from 10.1% in 2013 to 7.6% in 2018 before slightly increasing to 7.9% in 2019, according to data from the German Federal Employment Agency.
  • EDINNA (EDINNA is the educational network of inland waterway navigation schools and training institutes. Its aim is to achieve a more structured cooperation and a harmonized education, training and certification system for inland waterway personnel in order to ensure high quality training for staff on board vessels. See: https://www.edinna.eu/ (23. November 2020)) conducted a survey of new entrants to inland navigation training schools in 2015. Replies received from the Netherlands, Romania, the Czech Republic and Serbia showed an increase in the number of new entrants to the sector between 2009 and 2015. Even though not all EDINNA members completed the questionnaires for students on Operational Level (boatman) and Management Level (Boatmaster), schools with a relatively large number of students reported increasing numbers of students such as the Dutch boatman classes at Ijmuiden from 100 (2009) to 111 (2015) and Rotterdam from 56 (2009) to 118 (2015), the Romanian school CERONAV from 164 (2009) to 221 (2015) and the Czech school from 32 (2009) to 41 (2015). The Belgrade school saw an increase in Management Level education and a decrease in Operational Level students.
  • Results of a similar survey conducted by the CCNR in 2020 (Not all inland navigation schools provided an answer. The Covid-19 outbreak made it indeed difficult to obtain an answer from all relevant schools as databases were not always accessible by all schools during the lockdown period and while health emergencies had to be dealt with in parallel. However, despite these limitations, results from this survey could still be provided on the relevant insights and tendencies into education in IWT and the attractiveness of the sector) indicate that this positive trend was not overall sustained until 2019. However, it strongly depends on the country under study as well as the type of school concerned (university or training centres). For instance, the number of new entrants in Dutch inland navigation schools per year decreased from 294 in 2015 to 268 in 2019, while the number of registered students in the country decreased from 890 to 797. During that period of time, Polish, Czech, Slovak and French schools also reported declines in the numbers of registered students. For a Belgian school, the number of students remained more or less constant. Romania is the only country showing a clear increase in student numbers between 2015 and 2019.
  • In light of the results of the survey, it is expected that the staff shortage observed in the IWT sector will not be compensated by an increase in the number of graduates for IWT schools. The survey results also point to the fact that the IWT sector will most certainly remain male dominated in the coming years as only a few women graduate every year from inland navigation schools in Europe. As an example, over the period 2000-2019, approximately 10 women graduated from the CERONAV training centre. Similarly, very few female trainees have attended the Czech Děčín training school over the last 10 years. However, even if the number of women graduating remains very low compared to the overall number of students graduating each year, it seems that a slightly higher number of women are graduating today from inland navigation schools compared to a few years ago. In the Polish Zespól Szkól Zeglugi Sródladowej training centre, there is a relatively high number of women graduates (almost half of the graduates were women in the 2017-2020 period). The number of women graduating also depends on the kind of training and degrees offered by the school.
  • The survey results indicate that most students attend inland navigation schools in their home country. This is true for all inland navigation schools in Europe. Most students attending schools in the Netherlands are therefore Dutch nationals and most students attending schools in Romania are Romanian nationals. In western Europe, some students also come from African countries while in eastern Europe, a few students come from Moldova, Kazakhstan or even Vietnam.
  • After graduation, a larger share of students graduating from an inland navigation training centre in eastern Europe work in another country, generally in western Europe. Indeed, choosing to work abroad is generally motivated by the wage level and opportunities available in a foreign country, and wages in the IWT sector are generally higher in western Europe compared to eastern Europe (as confirmed by data in the next chapters of this report). For instance, it is estimated that 60% of the total number of students who obtain a certificate from the CERONAV training centre in Romania work abroad, mainly in Germany or in the Netherlands, while 40% work in Romania, mostly for inland navigation companies or in river and port administrations. A similar estimation is provided by the High School of Ship Transport and Industrial Crafts in the Czech Republic. This statement is also true for students obtaining their certificate in the Polish Zespól training centre. This observation is also confirmed by quantitative figures presented in the next chapters, providing evidence of a migration of inland waterway workers from east to west, often motivated by wage incentives.
  • The level of employability of students obtaining a certificate from the CERONAV training centre is very high (about 95% of students who obtain a certificate are then employed by a company in Romania or abroad). A similar level is reported by the Czech training centre. While most of the Czech and Romanian graduates follow a career in inland navigation, this is not necessarily the case for those graduating in Poland. The situation is also different when considering universities offering bachelors’ or masters’ degrees, such as the University of Žilina in Slovakia or the Volga State University of Water Transport in Russia where respectively 10% and 2-3% of students work abroad after graduation. Volga University reports that work opportunities after graduation are indeed quite numerous, secure and attractive at national level as graduates may follow, for instance, a career in transport ministries, transport authorities, education or logistics.
  • Most students qualifying from inland navigation schools in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium follow a career in the inland navigation sector. Given the important IWT activity in the Netherlands and Germany, it seems that a larger share of Dutch and German graduates remain in their home country after graduation compared to French and Belgian graduates. However, given the international character of IWT, most of them are brought to work on the European IWW network at some point or another during their career. Within freight transport, the number of students graduating in the Netherlands is quite evenly distributed among the market segments: 30% container vessels, 35% liquid cargo vessels, 30% dry cargo vessels.
  • Overall, the training centres which took part in the survey (most answers pre-dating the Covid-19 crisis) are expecting that the number of students will remain rather stable or might even increase in the coming years. For instance, CERONAV indicates that the number of persons interested in following a career in inland navigation is growing each year. In addition, given the need for more qualified staff in some specific areas, it is expected that the demand for certain qualifications will increase in the coming years, as will the number of trainees. Similarly, Dutch schools are expecting an increase in the number of students over the following years. Czech, Polish, Belgian and French schools are expecting the number of students to remain rather stable in the coming years. This will also depend on the willingness of public authorities to encourage inland navigation transport and how the sector will develop in the future. In addition, in countries where inland navigation workers are ageing, such as in Belgium or Germany, there might be further work opportunities in the future thereby having a positive impact on the number of students seeking to pursue a career in the IWT sector. The University of Žilina in Slovakia is the only school reporting that the number of students following an IWT related course is decreasing each year. The school capacity indeed decreased from 40 to 25 in 2015.
  • Most of the inland navigation schools that took part in the survey report that they have been involved in recruitment campaigns. Such campaigns can be targeting specific qualifications, launched in partnership with employers, made through mass/social-media campaigns or addressed at secondary schools’ students. Most of the respondents recognise the need to launch such communication campaigns given the shortage of qualified personnel observed in some segments of the IWT sector, and the lack of knowledge of the IWT sector by students who have had no contact with this sector at a young age. Many of the inland navigation workers often have a family member who was/is working in this sector. The objective of such a campaign is always to attract new, but also more qualified, students and inform them about the type of career opportunities available in the inland navigation sector.
  • Information about the market structure, economic and employment trends, are essential so as to understand and interpret quantitative data available regarding the European inland navigation sector labour market.
  •  

    RIVER CRUISE MARKET AND EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURE

      (Sources used for this chapter: IG River Cruise position paper on the situation of the western European river cruise business environment, October 2019. IG River Cruise represents around 2/3 of the total fleet capacities of European river cruises (it represents companies having in total 240 vessels) management companies included Interview with the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and with AQUAPOL. Further input (written comments) from European Inland Waterway Industry Associations (EBU and ESO) and DG MOVE)
       

    • River cruises in Europe have been in existence since the 1960s. While there were only 50 cruise vessels operational in Europe in 1995, by 2019 there were already 378 (Source: Hader, A. (2020) The River Cruise Fleet Handbook).
    • According to European Inland Waterway industry associations, competition between companies in this sector is fierce. Economically, the river cruise market is a flourishing sector, which is confirmed by analysing three main indicators. The river cruise fleet in Europe has constantly increased since 2004 and the newbuilding rate is high. In 2019, 19 new river cruise vessels entered the market in the EU. The number of active cruise ships on EU rivers increased by 55% between 2012 and 2019, up to the above-mentioned number of 378 vessels in 2019 (See: Inland navigation in Europe, Market observation, annual report 2020: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CCNR_annual_report_EN_2020_BD.pdf).
    • Demand for river cruises has been growing for several years, and between 2012 and 2019 has more than doubled, with up to 1.79 million passengers in 2019, highly driven by cruisers from non-European countries. River cruise vessel traffic has also increased. The yearly number of cruise ships passing the lock of Iffezheim on the Upper Rhine has increased from 1,603 ship transits in 2012 to 2,929 transits in 2019 (+83 %) (See: Inland navigation in Europe, Market observation, annual report 2020: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CCNR_annual_report_EN_2020_BD.pdf).
    • The fact that the river cruise sector is booming, with an ever-increasing passenger demand, is reflected in employment figures for the whole passenger transport sector, which follow a positive trend in Europe. However, in a sector where labour force shortage is a concern, ways to strengthen the attractiveness of the sector is also an important challenge in order to meet the rise in demand for river cruises in Europe.
    • The impact of the Covid-19 crisis will be felt in the years to come, including, most certainly, the way in which the labour market evolves.
    • The river cruise industry is characterised by international and rather complex company structures. For example, a river cruise vessel may be registered in Switzerland, with a crew having Cypriot employment contracts, hosting guests from Europe and overseas, and then might cross several countries during its journey.
    • In contrast to the early days when a ship owner also dealt with all the main aspects of a river cruise (hotel management, nautical aspects, etc.), four main types of players running a river cruise business can nowadays be identified.
    •  

      FIGURE 1: GENERAL OVERVIEW OF ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN RIVER CRUISING AND THEIR FUNCTION


      Source: CCNR based on IG RiverCruise
       

    • The IG River Cruise (Association of the leading European River Cruise Companies representing 239 cruise ships) points out that Cypriot, Maltese or Swiss employment contracts for employees on river cruise vessels sailing on the Rhine and Danube, reflect the maritime history and knowledge of navigation matters in these countries (Source: IG River Cruise website (https://www.igrivercruise.com/pdf/Positionspapier-V2-en.pdf), (October 2019)).
    • However, there are serious concerns about this argument. It is indeed questionable why employees working on a river cruise vessel sailing on the Rhine or Danube should be employed by a company registered in Malta or Cyprus. One simple reason why this is questionable is the fact that these two countries do not have any navigable rivers and therefore no river cruises are proposed in these countries. ETF and AQUAPOL raise serious concerns regarding such company models, based on their experience. They report a lower wage and social security level for the staff employed within such company models. They also report that communication with the labour market authorities in Cyprus and Malta is very difficult (If employees working on river cruise vessels in the Rhine or Danube region are employed by a company in Cyprus or Malta, both ETF and AQUAPOL report that this goes hand in hand with a lower level of social security for the workers. In addition, both organisations report that, in cases of employment and labour law disputes, the relevant public authorities in Cyprus and Malta barely show any willingness to cooperate with ETF and AQUAPOL, with the result that it becomes very difficult to defend the interests of the worker in such a case).
    • Regarding employment figures, IG RiverCruise estimates that there are currently 12,000 persons active in accommodation and gastronomically related activity on European river cruise vessels, compared to 2,500 persons who are working in the nautical field. According to this same association, recruitment concentrates on traditional navigation nations (both maritime and inland) such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, the Netherlands, France, and Asian countries. Despite efforts deployed to attract workers of other nationalities, Germans, Spanish and Portuguese are less willing to work on river cruise vessels.
    • Indeed, a main difference lies in the fact that crew members cannot return home in the evening, which represents a specific working condition that is different to hotels ashore. European inland waterway industry associations advise that crew members can earn a substantial income in just one cruising season, live off this money, travel or enjoy other activities during the winter months, which makes work on board a cruise ship quite attractive for many crew members. On the other hand, AQUAPOL reports on police controls in 2018 on river cruise vessels in Passau, Germany, which revealed that employees working on these cruise vessels (at least on those that were controlled in Passau) earned a wage that was clearly lower than the legal minimum wage in Germany (Since 1 January 2020, the legal minimum wage in Germany is 9.35 Euro per hour (gross wage). This gives a legal minimum gross wage of 1,621 Euro per month. Source: Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: https://www.bmas.de/DE/Themen/Arbeitsrecht/Mindestlohn/Rechner/mindestlohnrechner.html). These rather alarming results were also reported by ‘Bayerischer Rundfunk’ (Bavarian Broadcasting), the public-service radio and television broadcaster in Bavaria, and by the Dutch journal ‘INVESTICO’, a journal for investigative journalism (Source: Article in the Dutch journal Investico (2018), Rijncruise drijft op arbeidsuitbuiting, https://www.platform-investico.nl/artikel/rijncruise-drijft-op-arbeidsuitbuiting/ and an article on the website of the Bavarian Broadcasting: Bayerischer Rundfunk (2018), Auf Flusskreuzfahrtschiffen weiter gravierende Mängel entdeckt: https://www.br.de/nachrichten/bayern/auf-flusskreuzfahrtschiffen-weiter-gravierende-maengel-entdeckt,Qwtunaf).
    • In general, crew members live on board on the lowest deck, while the upper deck is reserved for the tourists. In modern cruise vessels, two crew members generally share a cabin (three to four crew members on older cruise vessels). These older vessels are however being progressively phased out of the market.
    • According to IG RiverCruise, the large river cruise management in the European river cruise market (River Advice, G&P, sea chefs and others) employ around 4,000 persons active on European cruise vessels.
    • With regard to working hours, IG River Cruise reports that fluctuation is high, mostly at the beginning of the season, when the personnel has to adapt to the specific rhythm and culture of a river cruise working life. This is also confirmed by the data presented in the following chapters. Uneven and long working hours are a challenge for the entire hospitality industry. There are indeed times when the staff have to work considerably more than eight to ten hours a day. However, according to IG RiverCruise, this is only temporary, and compensations are provided whenever possible in the form of days off, which in general are spent on board the vessel. Other reasons given by IG RiverCruise to explain long working hours are the irregularity of some jobs on board, such as bartenders, and the lack of space on board, preventing employers from having more than three extra staff members on board. Working hours are also controlled by official authorities and are governed by legislations (e.g. Directive 2014/112/EU concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport (Council Directive 2014/112/EU of 19 December 2014 implementing the European Agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, concluded by the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Skippers Organisation (ESO) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) Text with EEA relevance, OJ L 367, 23.12.2014, p. 86–95) ).
    • The subject of working conditions of crews on board river cruise vessels is debated and claims are also raised on the part of workers’ federations, such as the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) (https://www.etf-europe.org/our_work/inland-waterways/). Indeed, workers’ federations also explain that some river cruise companies take advantage of the EU single market rules to hire workers from countries with limited economic opportunities in an attempt to minimise wage costs, their wages thereby not reflecting the hardships of the work on board a cruise vessel.
    • Similarly, as reported above, there are instances when controls by official authorities reveal that some companies are likely to circumvent law. While in other instances, such non-compliance situations might result from a misinterpretation of the complex set of rules that apply in this sector, this complex set of rules can also result in some river cruise companies exploiting the situation. ETF regularly alleges abuses on the part of some river cruise companies, with recent scandals in Germany or in the Netherlands for instance, relating to unacceptable low wages, excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, and appalling working or living conditions on board. Such situations might also be exacerbated by the fact that river cruises have been experiencing a boom since 2013, mainly due to the large number of US-American tourists booking river cruise holidays, with an ever-increasing passenger demand. It is at least possible that the rapidly increasing activity in the sector created such a rapidly increasing demand for labour, that the needed amount of labour (personnel) could not be found, resulting in the above-mentioned phenomenon, such as the heavy workload and large amount of extra-hours.
    • Awareness of these issues exists both on the side of employers and workers’ representative organisations. As an example, in July 2019, the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and IG RiverCruise signed an agreement, committing to work together on measures that support fair employment in the European river cruise sector (https://www.etf-europe.org/ebu-etf-and-ig-rivercruise-sign-agreement-regarding-river-cruise-activities/).

     
     

    IWT FREIGHT MARKET STRUCTURE AND COMPANY SUCCESSION

    • The economic development of a given sector is – sometimes with a timely delay – reflected in the labour market developments. While passenger transport figures have been following a positive trend in recent years, the number of freight transport companies and volumes of goods transported decreased between 2014 and 2019 in western Europe. According to Eurostat (Eurostat [iww_go_atygo]), transport performance (in tonne-kilometres) in inland waterway freight transport in the EU decreased by 7% between 2014 and 2019, and transport volume (in tonnes) by 5%. To a certain degree, this is a rather different background for employment trends in freight transport compared to the growth in demand in passenger transport. This is reflected in the data presented in the following chapters which show a decrease in the overall number of persons employed in the European IWW freight transport sector. However, the situation also differs depending on the countries, the years and the market segments under study.
    • IWW freight transport market trends and possible outlook considerations are a good indication as to how employment might evolve in the future (Source of this outlook and trends: Inland navigation in Europe, Market observation, annual report 2020: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CCNR_annual_report_EN_2020_BD.pdf). Overall, it is expected that the energy transition will continue to have an important effect on transport volumes in inland navigation. In western Europe, this concerns coal in particular. Liquid mineral oil products are expected to continue to be an important component of inland navigation volumes, but a gradual decline is underway in certain regions. A stagnation or even a decline is expected in IWT iron ore transport in western Europe. Concerning the Danube region, steel production is however expected to grow further. For chemicals, the outlook is overall positive in Europe and IWW chemicals transport exhibits high growth rates, in particular in the Netherlands. Regarding agricultural products, food products and foodstuffs, it is expected that a certain regionalisation of production and a change in consumer habits to more regional products will influence long-distance transport. A further slowdown of world trade is expected to have an influence on the growth rates in container transport on the Rhine, although a high dynamic in national container transport in Belgium and in the Netherlands is foreseen. Drawing on these findings, employment figures in the dry cargo sector might develop less positively than in the liquid and container IWT market segments, particularly in western Europe, unless IWT succeeds in conquering new market segments. In addition, it cannot be excluded that the Covid-19 crisis might have a negative impact on employment in the IWT sector in the years to come.
    • The overall decrease in the freight inland navigation labour market, also described by many IWT actors, can be explained in the short term by the financial crisis, which had a negative impact on the volumes of goods transported and therefore on the demand for nautical personnel. Over the last decades the shortage of labour force could partly be counterbalanced by technological innovations as well as the enhanced mobility of crew members from countries inside and outside Europe. However, in the long run, a shortage due to fewer new workers on the market compared to those retiring should become more intense. Therefore, the aging of the workforce is a great challenge for the inland navigation labour market of today and tomorrow.
    • In addition, equipment and technology used on inland navigation vessels are becoming more and more complex. Therefore, inland navigation companies are seeking to hire more specialised and better qualified crew members. An example relates to the additional provisions concerning the expertise of crew members of inland vessels fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), for which a specific certificate of qualification is now required. The shortage of such competencies is due to employers who recruit from the same pool of employees across all inland navigation sectors.
    • The high technological level of the vessels, the level of qualifications required and the more modern accommodation that is now available on board the vessels might not always be recognised by people who are not active in the sector.
    • Regarding the liquid cargo segment in western Europe (Information collected based on an interview with the Director of CITBO, Alain Devos)) in particular, it is perceived as having certain advantages, such as job security, career opportunities both on board and ashore as well as quite an attractive salary. In parallel to the general trend, according to which operations on board of vessels are becoming more complex – and specifically in the liquid cargo segment – the transport of dangerous goods has also become far more complex in the last ten years and important steps have been taken in the field of safety and quality, thereby further increasing the requirements and qualifications necessary to work in this field. Another interesting development relates to the changing corporate structure of tanker barging companies, moving away from the traditionally family-owned company towards a structure with shareholders.
    • An important topic for the long-term economic and employment trend in freight transport is how to organise the succession between generations within freight companies. As has already been pointed out, around 80% of all IWW freight companies in western Europe are small independent barge owner-operators. The succession of the activity in these companies must be seen in the light of economic and social aspects. Company succession in inland navigation is directly influenced by several factors, in particular:
      • economic factors: demand evolution and economic outlook in a given market segment, overall economic framework conditions, etc.
      • labour and social factors: age structure of a given segment, working conditions, appropriate work/life balance, previous knowledge of the sector concerned, etc.
      • company and asset related factors: characteristics of the company such as its size and profitability, the type of assets concerned and the technical features (old or modern vessel, large or small, green or polluting), financing conditions for investments.
    • In this chapter, expert interviews from the banking sector were carried out in order to identify those critical factors influencing company succession in the IWT sector. Overall, such interviews allowed to draw the following main conclusions:
      • The dry cargo market is a more difficult market for company succession compared to the liquid cargo or container market which benefit from better economic framework conditions.
      • Whether the vessel is modern or not and whether “greening” investments have already been made appear as critical issues for company succession.
      • Social factors and working conditions have increasingly become key factors. Indeed, there is a low incentive for younger entrepreneurs to take over an existing business if it entails a heavy and demanding workload, if the economic outlook of the market segment is difficult, and if costly technical investments in the vessel have to be undertaken. This is generally the case for smaller barge owners-operators who tend to work long hours away from home, possibly combined with wages that are not very attractive.
      • It is generally observed that sections of the younger generation favour land-based jobs with regular off-times and weekends at home, in comparison with their parents’ generation.
      • Cooperatives (which are especially observed in the dry cargo market) are seen as an effective concept to foster company succession, as they allow for better social, logistical and economic conditions for barge-owners and operators.
      • Vertical integration is also presented as an important goal for IWT in the future which would facilitate company succession.

       
      Info Box: Vertical integration in logistics
       

      Vertical integration in logistics - and in particular in inland navigation - could exist in various forms. In general, it would mean that an IWT company is not only transporting goods from point A to point B, without any influence on the backward and forward parts of the logistics chain. Backward vertical integration would be present if an inland waterway transport company also owns the freight forwarding process which is quite often done by other (larger) logistics firms. These freight forwarders negotiate volumes and freight rates with large clients from the chemical, petrochemical, agri-food, or steel industry.
       
      If inland navigation companies would take over this role, by backward vertical integration, they would gain more influence on freight rates. A forward vertical integration would mean that inland navigation companies could also control the selling and marketing of the products that they are transporting, for example by owning trading or marketing companies. This would give them more insight into the development of the demand side, and in market conditions of the products they are transporting.
      Source: CCNR

       
      The experts’ views regarding company succession in inland navigation are presented below.
       
      ING Bank
      Interview partners: Rico Luman, Sector Economist Transport, Logistics, Chemicals; Arthur de Bot, Relationship Manager Transport and Logistics

      Company succession must be seen in the context of the economic development of the inland navigation sector. In the years after the 2008/2009 financial crisis, the number of bankruptcies increased. Banks tried to help the companies by postponing reimbursements of loans so that companies could continue to be active in the sector.

      Even if there was a recovery from the financial crisis, the long-term economic framework conditions have deteriorated again in recent years. This concerns notably energy transition and the phasing out of coal. This structural change has a strong impact on transport volumes in IWT. In the agricultural sector, the high amount of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands puts pressure on this sector to reduce its output. Overall, these difficult economic framework conditions represent a rather problematic basis for company succession in the dry market segment. These structural framework conditions do not make it easy for young entrepreneurs willing to work in this sector and develop a profitable business plan for the future.

      Another aspect which is important for company succession is the size of companies. By far, the large majority of inland navigation companies in western Europe are very small barge owner companies with only one vessel. Small companies often face more financial risks and less access to loans when faced with necessary technical modernisation. The long working hours, including at the weekends, are an important factor, especially in the case of small independent barge owner-operators. At the same time, the earning capacity of small companies is limited, due to a restricted loading capacity of the ship. Taken together, these conditions often fail to generate a high incentive for the younger generation to take over the company from their parents. The bank underlines that investment in greening the vessel is a ‘trigger point’ for company succession.

      The liquid cargo market is characterised by a different company structure. The average size of inland navigation companies is larger in the liquid cargo market and there are more employees compared to the dry cargo market.

      Container transport also has a more growth-orientated economic outlook than dry cargo transport. The liner service structure (24-hour service) makes it easier to earn money and to reimburse loans. In the Netherlands, national container transport is a growth market (this is also shown by statistical data from Eurostat).


      Rabobank
      Interview partner: Mr. Marco van Beek, Sector Manager Inland Navigation

      Similar conclusions are reached regarding the situation in the various market segments. The liquid cargo market has a more modern fleet and with companies of a larger size, providing more incentive for company succession. The outlook for the transport of chemicals is positive, making the liquid cargo market overall profitable for the future.

      Cooperatives could be a possible solution for small barge owners, also in the dry cargo market, to merge together and develop size and scale advantages, thereby allowing economies of scale and lower transport costs to be realised. This is important in the logistics sector. Larger companies or cooperatives could also have more bargaining power for negotiating freight rates and would be more able to achieve a vertical integration within the whole supply chain. Vertical integration is considered as an important topic for inland navigation and should be seen as a goal for the future.

      ABN AMRO bank
      Interview partner: Mr. Albert Jan Swaart, Sector Economist Industry, Transport and Logistics

      Many of the young entrepreneurs who want to start their own business in inland navigation and are eager to take risks come from IWT families.

      Cooperatives (such as NPRC (See: https://nprc.eu/vloot/. The NPRC assembles 120 IWT entrepreneurs, has a fleet of 200 vessels sailing and transports 13 million tonnes of cargo each year on European inland waterways. This makes NPRC the largest corporation in inland navigation in Europe. The 200 vessels belong to different size categories and include also small vessels with a loading capacity of less than 750 tonnes. The corporation is active in all goods segments, from iron and steel, over sands, stones and gravel, grain to containers)) could be a solution to organise supply chain management in a better way, also regarding the social life of the barge owner-operators in inland navigation. They would make it easier to organise transport activities in such a way that barge owners can be at home during the weekend. This would be an important incentive for company succession, given that many young entrepreneurs want to have a family and be at home during the weekends.

      Staff shortage is already a major problem in inland navigation, and it is important that young people also have “social” incentives in order to become a barge owner-operator.

      Ostfriesische Volksbank
      Interview partner: Mr. Dieter Schneider, Head of Bank für Schifffahrt

      An important point for the foundation or the succession of a company in IWT is to present a solid business plan, which should also include a freight forwarding concept. Indeed, freight forwarding companies often participate even financially in the acquisition of a new vessel, hence the added value for young entrepreneurs to be in contact with such freight forwarding companies. Such relationships are win-win solutions as both parties have an interest in future inland waterway transport with modern vessels. During the process of company succession, contacts between banks, the entrepreneur and the freight forwarding company are intensive.

      Among company successions, there are several different models. Often, young entrepreneurs come from an IWT family and have already been working on a vessel for several years. As they want to become more independent, they decide to invest in their own vessel. Given that older vessels are often more costly in maintenance and that it is more difficult to install a new engine in older and smaller vessels, company succession is often combined with the acquisition of a new vessel. There are also other models possible, where the son of an owner-operator continues to sail with his father’s vessel on the latter’s retirement.

    Executive summary

    • 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. Thematic reports are now also published and cover certain aspects of the inland navigation market.
    • The monitoring of labour market indicators in a given market is particularly relevant to assess the situation of human capital in this sector and its future development. Human capital is one of the most important resources and a fundamental precondition for a high-quality performance and economic growth of a sector. Given that no report providing detailed data on this topic at the level of the European inland navigation sector is currently available, it was decided to draft a thematic report with the objective of improving knowledge and information about the European inland navigation sector labour market.
    • When investigating all possible sources (statistical offices, employment administration, social security organisations, waterway administrations, ministries of transport and of labour, etc.), detailed data about employment and labour market conditions in inland waterway transport were found. However, given that several sources of data sometimes exist for one and the same country, data might be more or less different for the same country depending on the source used. This is mainly because different methodologies are used by different organisations. In this report, priority was given to the sources which appeared to be the most reliable.
    • The reliability of datasets from service record books or certificate of qualifications is often rather low. In that regard, the “European Crew Database” (ECDB) which is expected to be operational by mid-January 2022, should be of great added value to enhance the monitoring of employment indicators in the European inland navigation sector.
    • Based on quantitative data and qualitative information collected in the context of this report, the following main conclusions can be highlighted.
    • In inland waterway (IWW) passenger transport, employment increased in recent years, in particular due to the boom in river cruising. The growth in employment at the level of the whole EU was 26% between 2008 and 2018. Employment in IWW passenger transport reached 26,156 persons in 2018 and has overtaken IWW freight transport (23,520 in 2018) in terms of employment in the years 2015/2016.
    •  

      FIGURE 1: EMPLOYMENT IN INLAND WATERWAY PASSENGER TRANSPORT AND IN INLAND WATERWAY FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN THE EU


      Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
      Employment = Self-employment, employees and helping family members

       

    • This positive trend in IWW passenger transport employment is present in Rhine countries (e.g. Germany, Switzerland), Danube countries (e.g. Austria, Hungary, Romania) and also for Italy.
    • In IWW freight transport, the overall employment trend – with regard to the degree of employment – was rather negative in central and eastern Europe. This trend is demonstrated in the present report by means of available data for Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. For Romania, the largest IWW Danube country, the employment trend was found to be more positive. For western European countries, the employment trend in freight transport has not been positive over the last ten years. However, whether it was really decreasing or rather at a constant level largely depends on the database being examined.
    • Evidence shows that one main explanation for the negative employment trend in IWW freight transport in central and eastern Europe could be due to an overly low wage level. According to official figures, the average monthly gross wage in the water transport sector in the Czech Republic was 872 Euro in 2017, thereby 16% lower than the average wage level in the Czech transport sector and 23% lower than the average wage level in the whole Czech economy. In the Hungarian IWT sector, the average monthly earnings for IWT workers amounted to 602 Euro, which was about 29% below the average wage level in the entire Hungarian economy. In Serbian IWT the wage of IWT workers was 616 Euro in 2019.
    • Compared to the wage level in western Europe, wages in eastern Europe are very low: the monthly gross median income for full-time IWW workers under the social security regime in Germany was 2,780 Euro in IWW freight transport in 2017 and 2,917 Euro in IWW passenger transport. Even if one takes into account the possibility that actual wages might be higher than the wages as stated in the official figures, it can be assumed that there is a significant wage gap between central and eastern Europe on the one hand, and western Europe on the other hand. This is confirmed by statistical data on the level of personnel costs per employee per country in the EU.
    • According to Eurostat figures (Structural business statistics [sbs_na_1a_se_r2]) the seven countries with the lowest personnel costs per employee in IWT in the EU are (in ascending order regarding the cost level): Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland. Personnel costs per employee in German IWW freight transport are around three to five times higher than in these countries, which matches approximately the relationship between wages from national wage data as shown in figure 2 (See also: Inland navigation in Europe, Market observation, annual report 2020: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CCNR_annual_report_EN_2020_BD.pdf, page 125).
    •  

      FIGURE 2: AVERAGE MONTHLY GROSS WAGES FOR EMPLOYEES WORKING IN IWW FREIGHT AND IWW PASSENGER TRANSPORT PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE


      Sources: German Federal Labour Agency, Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, Czech Ministry of Transport, National Statistical Office of Serbia, Hungarian National Employment Service
      * For the Czech Republic, employment and wage data concern NACE sector 50 (water transport) in general, but around 99% of the employed persons in Czech water transport are estimated to be employed in inland water transport.

       

    • Statistical data suggest a rather high rate of migration of inland waterway workers from central and eastern Europe to western Europe. This type of migration tends to increase, for instance in Germany, a major country of destination especially for Czech, Polish and Romanian IWT workers. A similar observation can be made regarding Luxembourg, where a high number of IWT workers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania (but also from western European countries) work for companies established in Luxembourg. Serbs and Hungarians are often employed in the Austrian and the German IWT sectors.
    • Figure 3 presents data on the number of workers (employees) with a nationality from central and eastern Europe, and being employed in Luxembourg, Germany and Austria. Hereby only the nationalities with the highest frequencies are shown. For Switzerland and the Netherlands, two other countries with a high share of foreign IWT workers, there were unfortunately no detailed data according to nationalities available.
    •  

      FIGURE 3: NUMBER OF FOREIGN WORKERS FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE IN THE IWT SECTOR IN LUXEMBOURG, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA *


      Sources: German Federal Labour Agency, Inspection générale de la sécurité sociale sur la base des données du Centre commun de la sécurité sociale, Austrian Public Employment Service
      * Data are for 2019 (Austria, Germany) and for 2020 (Luxembourg). Nationalities with small frequencies are not shown. Serbs in Austria include persons with former Yugoslavia nationality.

       

    • In Germany, the east-west migration leads to a rising share of foreigners in freight transport employment, mainly from Poland, Czech Republic and Romania. The share of foreigners among employees (social security regime) in the German IWW freight transport sector is 34.7% (2019) and therefore significantly higher than in the whole German transport sector (18.7%) and also higher than in the German IWW passenger transport sector (11.0%). This might reflect a rather low employment attractiveness of the freight inland waterways transport (IWT) sector for Germans. Although the Austrian IWT sector is significantly smaller than the German IWT sector, it has an even higher share of foreigners with 41% (freight and passenger traffic together). Luxembourg clearly has the highest share of foreigners of all countries, with 99.5% of all IWT workers in freight transport being of a nationality other than Luxembourg.
    • Another phenomenon of the IWT labour market is the ageing process. Detailed long run data for Belgium show that ageing is particularly a problem within the group of self-employed barge owner-operators, although also within the group of employees. This higher degree of ageing amongst the self-employed begs additional explanations, which were found during expert interviews amongst banks. They point to a combination of social, economic and cultural influencing factors.
    • In particular, living on a vessel comes with specific challenges and it can be observed that many young people favour land-based jobs with regular working hours and weekends at home. This factor is highly relevant, for example in western Europe, where around 80% of IWW freight companies are independent owner-operators, whose working hours cannot be restricted to a regular schedule.
    • Altogether, the factors described above lead to a certain shortage of labour in inland navigation, a concern for both the passenger and freight inland navigation market, which can in particular be observed for qualified personnel at management level and qualified boatmasters in the liquid cargo segment.
    • Other factors contributing to this observed shortage of staff are of a technical nature. As the work required from crew members is becoming more and more technical, inland navigation companies often seek even more specialised profiles than before, and these are difficult to find.
    • The overall economic framework conditions in different market segments of IWT are also influencing factors. The inland navigation passenger transport market, in particular its river cruise segment, has been following a positive trend over the last years. Passenger numbers in river cruising in the EU increased by 10% in 2019 compared to 2018, and between 2012 and 2019 figures more than doubled, reaching 1.8 million passengers in 2019 (See: Inland navigation in Europe, Market observation, annual report 2020: https://inland-navigation-market.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CCNR_annual_report_EN_2020_BD.pdf, page 134). In freight transport, the development is less positive overall, with a decrease of total IWW goods transport performance in the EU of 7% from 2014 to 2019 (Eurostat [iww_go_atygo]). Of course, differences according to market and goods segments exist. The development and the outlook are for example more difficult in parts of the dry cargo market, and more positive in the liquid cargo or the container market. Already now, these differences in economic development of market segments are reflected in the employment figures.
    • In light of the above, ways to strengthen the attractiveness of the sector must therefore continue to be a priority. More fundamental measures with an effect on all these factors (may they be socio-cultural, economic or financial) should be taken into account in order to increase the attractiveness of the IWW labour market, in particular for the younger generation. Several options were outlined during interviews with banks engaged in IWT financing. For instance, the reorganisation of the logistical supply chain, with more backward and forward vertical integration as a way of strengthening the position of IWT within the whole supply chain and to increase its bargaining and economic power. The development of cooperatives was also seen as an important option to better align economic necessities (efficiency, profitability, high workload) with social and cultural aspects (private and social life, family, etc.) of inland navigation workers. Of course, the continued promotion of the range of possible job opportunities in the sector, both on board and ashore, is also essential.

     
     

    Introduction

    • Inland navigation market observation activities are carried out by the CCNR in partnership with the EU Commission, the Danube Commission and IWT industry associations. In this context, the CCNR market observation team was tasked with the drafting of a study on the labour market in European IWT.
    • The objective of this report was to provide an EU overview and where possible a more detailed country by country analysis of the IWT labour market in Europe, based on statistical data and qualitative information. Several aspects of the European IWT labour market were also examined, such as the main legislative development related to the European IWT labour market, the passenger and freight market structures, their respective economic and employment trends, education in the sector and its attractiveness, company succession and posted workers.
    • Although the report refers to the Covid-19 crisis in some places, the main datasets that constitute the statistical basis for this report predate the Covid-19 crisis. It therefore cannot be excluded that this crisis will have an impact on some of the trends presented in this report. However, such impacts cannot be anticipated or further analysed until a critical mass of data is available.
    • It is also important to note that the Covid-19 crisis was a supplementary hurdle to overcome when it came to data collection. Indeed, the data analysed in this report were not always directly accessible for statistical offices or other offices providing data. It often required them to carry out some specific data research in a situation where those offices were already overwhelmed with requests related to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. This is also true for many players with whom we have been in contact in the context of this report and we are very grateful for their cooperation and availability.
    • In the introduction to this report, it appeared important to outline the other main difficulties encountered. In particular, no exhaustive database is currently available to monitor all the labour market aspects of the European inland navigation sector. In addition, for some aspects, such as those relating to the posting of workers in inland navigation, very little quantitative data is available.
    • Another difficulty lies in the fact that, depending on the countries, labour markets are also organised differently, and sometimes relevant competencies are also decentralised or transferred to specific agencies. Identifying the right contact point depending on the type of information requested and the geographical area under study, can therefore become quite a challenge.
    • Even in the case where many different sources for one and the same country were found, the methodologies were sometimes different, making it difficult to deduce certain trends regarding the level of employment over time. Besides, structural comparisons between different countries were not always possible, as the definition of an indicator or the exact breakdown of a variable was sometimes different from one country to another. Whenever possible, an explanation was given in the report as to the type of source chosen and the reasons for choosing one source over another. For instance, it was decided to use the Eurostat structural business statistics (SBS) dataset when providing an overview of the IWT labour market in Europe, as they allow for comparability of data at EU level between countries. However, the scope of such data is limited (i.e. employment in loading/unloading activities of goods in ports and employment in operation of transport infrastructure not included; people working for companies with primary activities other than IWT not counted as employed in IWW even if they work on a vessel) and can be incomplete for some countries. Another hurdle was the lack of reliability of service record books and certificates of qualification which was identified at first as an important source of information for this report. However, as it is explained in more detail in the report, such sources do not allow to differentiate between active and retired workers and risks that IWT workers registered in such databases are counted twice (or even more) are high.
    • In light of the above, while all efforts were deployed to obtain as much information as possible, it was not always possible to gather data with the same level of detail and based on the same indicators and methodology for all European countries.
    • The Market Insight Report – November 2020 contains key figures relating to the European Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) for the first half of 2020. The Covid-19 crisis has had some severe effects on goods and passenger transport, but there were also market segments which escaped from the downfall.
    • The pandemic has had the most severe impact on passenger transport, due to the canceling of river cruises and day trip excursions from March 2020 onwards. In France, for example, the financial turnover of IWW (Inland Waterway) passenger transport companies was 91% lower in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020 than in the same quarter one year earlier. In Germany, the reduction of financial turnover in passenger transport companies amounted to 72% in Q2 2020. Passenger transport turnover suffered also in Austria, where it has a higher share in total IWT turnover than goods transport.
    • The effects of the pandemic on goods transport were different according to cargo segments and regions. A main observation was the reduction of iron ore transport due to the interruption of automobile production in March. On the Rhine, iron ore transport lost 15% in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. On the Middle Danube, it was reduced by 32%. Sands, stones and gravel transport lost 34.8% in France in Q2 2020, where it is the largest cargo segment.
    • Two cargo segments escaped the downfall: petroleum products benefited from the sharp oil price decrease, which triggered more import, transport and storage activities for heating oil. The transport for this liquid cargo category was at the same level as one year earlier, both on the Rhine and on the Middle Danube.
    • The second cargo segment which avoided a decrease was grain transport. On the Middle Danube, there was an increase of 76% for grain transport, as harvest results were much improved compared to the previous year. There was also a strong increase of grain transport on the Lower Danube in Romania (+66.4%) and a slight increase in France (+0.8%).
    • Spot market freight rates were on a downward trend, especially for dry cargo. For mineral oil products, the first half year showed relatively stable rates, thanks to the replenishment of storage depots. But these effects have so far been subsiding in the second half of the year and liquid cargo freight rates are now decreasing.
    • The financial turnover of goods transport companies was far less affected than passenger transport. For German goods transport companies, the year-on-year reduction was 9% in Q2 2020. In the Netherlands, this indicator reached -17%, but this figure includes both goods and passenger transport companies.
    • One chapter of the report focuses on Austria, where inland waterway transport has a high modal split share for imports from eastern countries (within the trimodal Danube corridor).
    • River cruise traffic on the Austrian Danube increased by 80% between 2010 and 2019, but the years 2020 and 2021 will see a sharp interruption of this positive trend due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • The “Focus on” chapter deals with Austria, where 48% of goods transport on inland waterways was made up of agricultural products, iron ore and scrap metal in 2019. Petroleum products had a share of 17%.

    • The modal split share of IWT in the multimodal Danube corridor (road, rail, river) is the highest for imports from Austria’s eastern neighbouring countries. Within this corridor, Danube traffic reaches a modal share of 27% for cross-border import traffic from the east.

    • Passenger transport on Austrian inland waterways is composed of cruise traffic, day trip excursions on the Danube and on lakes. Cruise traffic on the Austrian Danube is a fast-growing business, with a cruise trips growth rate of 80% between 2010 and 2019. The day trip excursions growth rate on the Austrian Danube was 9% between 2010 and 2019. Both segments suffered during the first half of 2020, as turnover figures confirm.

     

    AUSTRIAN INLAND PORTS’ WATERSIDE TRAFFIC

      PortWaterside traffic 2019 in million tonnes
      Linz (voestalpine steel port)*2.696
      Vienna1.227
      Enns0.779
      Linz (public port)0.665
      Krems0.370

       

      * The voestalpine steel port is the port of the Austrian steel company voestalpine AG
       
       

      FIGURE 1: WATERSIDE PORTS TRAFFIC IN THE LARGEST AUSTRIAN INLAND PORTS 2008-2019 (IN MILLION TONNES) *


      Source: viadonau
      * In 2019 these ports represented 82.4% of all waterside ports traffic in Austria.

       

      TABLE 1: WATERSIDE PORT THROUGHPUT IN DANUBE COUNTRIES, Q1 2020 COMPARED TO Q1 2019

      CountryQ1 2019 in million tQ1 2020 in million tRate of change in %
      Romanian ports6.2126.668+7.3
      Serbian ports2.6621.845-30.7
      Austrian ports2.0161.709-15.2
      Hungarian ports1.5261.597+4.7
      Ukrainian ports1.5691.278-18.5
      German ports0.8990.765-14.9
      Slovakian ports0.5230.390-25.5
      Moldavian ports0.2840.296+4.4
      Croatian ports0.1370.190+38.7

      Source: Danube Commission
      German ports are the Danube ports in Germany. For Bulgarian ports, the data are partly missing and are therefore not comparable.

       

      FIGURE 2: IWT ON THE AUSTRIAN DANUBE BY GOODS SEGMENT (IN MILLION TONNES), 2012-2019 *


      Source: viadonau (several annual reports)
      * Not shown are chemicals and coal due to very low numbers.

       

    • Import traffic plays an important role for IWT in Austria. While agricultural products are mainly imported into (43%) or transiting (50%) through Austria, iron ore has an import share of almost 100%. It is mainly delivered by upstream transport from the Lower and Middle Danube region, and its destination is the steel industry in Linz (see also ports figures). Within the Danube corridor, the river Danube reaches a modal split share of 27% for cross-border import traffic from the eastern direction (modal share within road, rail and IWT).
    • Within transit traffic, the modal split share of the Danube is also higher for upstream traffic (12%) than for downstream traffic (3%). For export traffic, the Danube’s share is again higher for the eastern trading route (13%) than for the western route (5%).
    •  

      MODAL SPLIT SHARE OF IWT WITHIN CROSS-BORDER TRAFFIC IN THE AUSTRIAN DANUBE CORRIDOR (IN % OF ROAD, RAIL AND IWT) *

       

      Sources: Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and viadonau
      * Data for 2019
      EX = Export traffic
      IM = Import traffic
      TR = Transit traffic

     
     

    FACT SHEET IWT IN AUSTRIA – ANNUAL FIGURES



      Source: CCNR analysis based on Eurostat data [sbs_na_1a_se_r2], [iww_go_atygo], [iww_go_actygo], [tran_hv_frmod], [iww_eq_loadcap], [iww_eq_age], viadonau (fleet data).
      Notes on the factsheet: “Share in EU total” contains figures for the EU plus Switzerland and Serbia. #) In contrast to transport performance, for transport volume, a country-specific share cannot be calculated. *) The number of dry cargo vessels includes work vehicles and RoRo ships (source: viadonau).
      The modal split indicator is defined as the percentage of inland waterway transport in total freight transport performance measured in tonne-kilometres. Inland freight transport modes include road, rail and inland waterways. Road transport takes into account the TKM made by trucks registered in foreign countries on Austrian territory, according to the new Eurostat methodology in the series [tran_hv_frmod].

     
     

    PASSENGER TRANSPORT ON THE AUSTRIAN DANUBE

    • The number of river cruise trips in Austria is measured on the basis of data collected at the lock of Aschach near Linz and at the lock of Vienna-Freudenau. While the number of trips represent ‘hard data’, the passenger numbers are partly estimated by viadonau based on an assumed average capacity utilisation of the vessels of 75%. According to these figures, the number of river cruise trips on the Austrian Danube increased by 80% between 2010 and 2019. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the figures for 2020 can be expected to be much lower than in previous years.
    •  

      FIGURE 3: NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE TRIPS AND NUMBER OF CRUISE PASSENGERS ON THE AUSTRIAN DANUBE *


      Sources: viadonau, several annual reports
      * Number of passengers is an estimation by viadonau.

       

    • Not only river cruise vessels, but also day trip vessels (liner services and non-scheduled services) are important on the Austrian Danube. Due to the absence of official figures, viadonau collects passenger numbers from companies. There are several companies active in liner services (including ferry services on the Danube) and in non-scheduled services (charter trips, thematic trips).
    •  

      FIGURE 4: NUMBER OF PASSENGERS IN LINER SERVICES ON THE AUSTRIAN DANUBE (IN 1000) *


      Sources: viadonau, several annual reports
      * Figures include ferry services.

    • In the Rhine region, freight rates for dry cargo followed a downward trend in the first half of 2020. Spot market rates for coal, iron ore and metals were around 21-22% lower in the Rhine region, compared to the first half year of 2019. Freight rates for sands, stones, gravel and agribulk also decreased, but in a less pronounced manner.

    • Spot market freight rates for mineral oil products mostly decreased in the first half year of 2020, the month of May being the only exception, when the return to a 24 hours a day operation of locks on the Upper Rhine brought a temporary upward movement in freight rates (due to more transport demand).

    • Turnover development per country shows a limited decrease for goods transport (e.g. -9% in the second quarter of 2020 in Germany), but a very clear decrease for passenger transport. For French passenger transport companies, financial turnover was 91% lower in the second quarter of 2020 compared to Q2 2019.

     
     

    IMPACT OF WATER LEVEL CONDITIONS

    • The available or possible draught of a vessel is an important economic parameter. A high possible draught enables high loading degrees, thereby realising economies of scale and high transport volumes, and lowering unit costs. A detailed model for estimating the effect of low water on the loading capacity of inland ships of different types and size was recently published in the European Journal of Transport Infrastructure Research (Van Dorsser, C. et al. Effect of low water on loading capacity of inland ships. European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, v. 20, n. 3, p. 47-70, sep. 2020. ISSN 1567-7141. Available at: https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/ejtir/article/view/3981). For IWT as a whole, high loading degrees could enable IWT to gain modal shares on the transport market.
    • The available or possible draught of an inland vessel can be calculated on the basis of the actual water level, the equivalent water level and the minimum navigation channel depth that is guaranteed by the waterway administration under the condition of the equivalent water level. In addition, a security margin under the keel (under keel clearance) has to be taken into account (Possible or available draught = minimum navigation channel depth + (actual water level – equivalent water level) – under keel clearance). The equivalent water level refers to a low water level under which, on a 30-year average, the water levels do not fall below more than 20 ice free days per year.
    • The figure below illustrates a vessel sailing with a certain actual draught (due to a certain weight of goods loaded) at the gauge station of Kaub/Middle Rhine. At this gauge station, the equivalent water level is 78 cm, and the related minimum navigation channel depth 190 cm. For the under keel clearance, 32 cm were assumed. The chosen date to determine the available or possible draught in this illustration is 3 September 2020, when actual water levels were 239 cm on average.
    •  

      FIGURE 1: ACTUAL WATER LEVEL, ACTUAL DRAUGHT, EQUIVALENT WATER LEVEL, MINIMUM NAVIGATION CHANNEL DEPTH AND POSSIBLE OR AVAILABLE DRAUGHT AT KAUB/MIDDLE RHINE *


      Source: CCNR based on German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) (2015).
      * The distances in this drawing are not at scale.

       

    • In the example above, it can be seen that the vessel could have loaded more weight as it did not fully exploit the available or possible draught on that day at Kaub.
    • From the viewpoint of the German waterway administration, for a river bed with sand or gravel soil, an under keel clearance of at least 20 cm is sufficient. The under keel clearance for a rocky river bed should be between 20 cm and 40 cm.
    • The following figures show the available draught for several important gauge stations on the Rhine and the Danube until August 2020 (In these calculations, the following values were taken for the under-keel clearance: 32 cm for Kaub, 21 cm for Maxau, 27 cm for Duisburg, and 40 cm for the three Danube gauge stations. The values regarding the Rhine stations are published in a report by the Swiss Association of Shipping and Port Economics (see the article written by the Swiss Association of Shipping and Port Economics (Schweizerische Vereinigung für Schifffahrt und Hafenwirtschaft), in: SVS Aktuell, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019, pages 7 and 8, available at: http://www.svs-ch.ch/sites/default/files/svs-aktuell/winter_2018.pdf). The values regarding the Danube are recommended by viadonau).
    •  

      FIGURES 2 AND 3: IMPACT OF HYDRAULICITY – AVAILABLE OR POSSIBLE DRAUGHT OF VESSELS AT IMPORTANT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE RHINE AND DANUBE (IN CM)



      Sources: CCNR calculation based on data from the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, provided by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), and data from the Federal State of Lower Austria (https://www.noel.gv.at/wasserstand/#/de/Messstellen/Map/Wasserstand).

     
     
     

    FREIGHT RATES IN THE RHINE AND DANUBE REGIONS

      FIGURES 4 AND 5: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION FOR DRY CARGO IN THE RHINE REGION (INDEX 2015 = 100)



      Source: Panteia
       

    • Dry cargo freight rates (spot market) in the Rhine region came under pressure in the first half of 2020. According to freight rate data collected by Panteia, freight rates for coal, iron ore and metals had the strongest reduction compared to the first half of 2019, with -22% (coal and iron ore) and -21% (metals). The structural decline in coal transport, and the negative effects of Covid-19 on steel production and automobile production can largely explain this trend.
    • For sands, stones and gravel, as well as agribulk, the decrease in freight rates was somehow smaller (-6% and -17% respectively). Freight rates in container transport (spot market rates) were, in the first half of 2020, 23% lower than in the same period one year earlier. It should be noted that most container ships operate under a time charter agreement. The evolution shown in the graph concerns spot market freight rates and can therefore differ from time charter rates.
    •  

      FIGURE 6: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION FOR GASOIL FROM THE ARA REGION TO RHINE DESTINATIONS (INDEX 2015 = 100) *


      Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International
      * PJK collects freight rates (in Euro per tonne) for ARA-Rhine trade of liquid bulk. The CCNR transforms these values into an index with base year 2015. Lower Rhine: Duisburg, Cologne. Upper Rhine: Karlsruhe, Basel. Main: Frankfurt/M.

       

    • Factors which supported spot market freight rates for liquid cargo transport on the Rhine in the first half year of 2020 were low oil prices and relatively low water levels (see figures above). Low spot market oil prices, in combination with a ‘contango’ (Contango is a situation where spot market prices are below prices for a future delivery of oil products) situation on future oil markets, meant that importers saw it as profitable to import oil products, store them and get their price risk covered by the future market. At the beginning of May 2020, the restoration of the 24 hours a day operation of Upper Rhine locks brought some temporary extra transport activity, reflected by a sudden upward movement in freight rates.
    • This effect subsided in June and in the following months, so that freight rates decreased. In July, August and September 2020, gasoil freight rates were much lower than in the same months one year earlier. For the Lower Rhine, the average difference in Q3 2020 compared to Q3 2019 was -47%, and for the Upper Rhine even -51%, and -57% for the Main. These strong reductions in autumn 2020 can be explained by the fact that the usual replenishment effects for heating oil were barely present in autumn 2020, as depots had already been filled up in the spring when oil prices dropped sharply (see chapter 1).
    • In Q1 2020, freight rates in Danube navigation – in downstream transport – were 24% higher than in Q1 2019. It was the increase in downstream transport of grain (see chapter 1), which triggered this uptake. Within upstream transport, freight rates went down (-9%) due to less iron ore transport during the first months of 2020 (see chapter 1). There was also a reduction in fuel prices due to lower oil prices, by -7% compared to 2019.
    •  

      FIGURE 7: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION IN DANUBE NAVIGATION (INDEX Q4 2018 = 100)


      Source: Danube Commission Market Observation report

     
     
     

    QUARTERLY IWT TURNOVER EVOLUTION PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE

      FIGURE 8: TURNOVER EVOLUTION OF FRENCH PASSENGER TRANSPORT COMPANIES (INDEX 2015 = 100)


      Source: INSEE – Indice de chiffres d’affaires
       

    • In Q1 2020, turnover from IWW passenger transport in France was 35% below the Q1 2019 value. In Q2 2020, IWW turnover fell by 91% compared to the same quarter one year earlier.
    • By mid-March, the time when the cruise season normally starts, the whole activity of passenger transport (river cruises and day trip excursions) halted completely. It was only at the end of May that some day trip vessels and small cruise vessels took up their activity, although with a rather limited number of passengers. Larger cruise vessels were authorised to sail only from the first half of July onwards (See the article in the journal NPI « Accompagner les entreprises, une priorite absolue », September 2020). However, not all large river cruises resumed their operation. For instance, Viking river cruises, a company which proposes river cruises in France, decided to extend the suspension of operations applying to all its river cruises until the end of 2020.
    • The harsh reduction in turnover in France can be explained by the almost complete absence of overseas (US-Americans, Canadians, Australians) and British tourists. These source markets play an essential role as clients for passenger shipping in France, in particular within the segment of cruise traffic (both large and small cruise vessels).
    •  

      FIGURE 9: TURNOVER EVOLUTION OF GERMAN PASSENGER TRANSPORT COMPANIES (INDEX 2015 = 100)


      Source: Destatis
       

    • Turnover in German passenger transport dropped by 11% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019. In Q2 2020, due to the cancellations of river cruises and day trip excursions on a large scale, turnover from IWW passenger transport was 72% below the level of Q2 2019. It is noted that this decrease was lower than in France, due to the explained structure of the demand side according to nationalities. In maritime and coastal shipping, the rate of reduction was even higher, at 85%.
    •  

      FIGURE 10: TURNOVER EVOLUTION OF GERMAN GOODS TRANSPORT COMPANIES (INDEX 2015 = 100)


      Source: Destatis
       

    • Comparing the evolution in maritime/coastal shipping with inland waterway transport, it can be observed that the reduction of turnover from cargo transport amounted to -9% in Q2 2020 in IWT, compared to -19% in maritime/coastal shipping. In the German cargo sector, the Covid-19 pandemic therefore had a more severe effect on turnover in the maritime segment than in IWT. These figures confirm also that turnover in cargo transport was less effected than turnover in passenger transport.
    •  

      FIGURE 11: TURNOVER EVOLUTION OF DUTCH TRANSPORT COMPANIES (INDEX 2015 = 100)


      Source: CBS
       

    • In the Dutch transport sector, turnover in IWT (freight and passenger transport taken together) is dominated by freight transport (92% of total turnover). Total turnover dropped by 7% in Q1 2020 (compared to the same quarter one year earlier), while there was an increase by 5% in maritime and coastal shipping. In the second quarter of 2020, the quartely year-on-year reduction in turnover amounted to -17% in IWT, and to -5% in maritime and coastal transport.
    • Although separate figures for passenger transport in the Netherlands are not available, some experiences from shipping companies can already shed some light on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. An article about a day-trip shipping company, active on the river Ijssel, indicates a reduction of turnover by 70% in March and April (See the article ”Rederij Celjo signaleert licht herstel rond-en partyvaart”, in: Weekblad Schuttevaer, 2 September 2020). Meanwhile, the activity is recovering, but with a low capacity utilisation. For instance, one of the said company’s vessels has a capacity of 250 passengers, but it can only receive 70 passengers at present to comply with the current sanitary requirements.
    • Some cases of passenger companies whose turnover was not negatively affected by Covid-19 also exist. For instance, a company with three small historical watertaxis (with a capacity inferior to 10 passengers) in Dordrecht reported that by intensifying its marketing activity in the region, targeting the local population, the reduction in the number of foreign tourists could be compensated (See the article in Weekblad Schuttevaer: “Rondvaartschip Si Barone beleeft beste seizoen ooit”, 7 September 2020).
    •  

      FIGURE 12: TURNOVER EVOLUTION OF AUSTRIAN IWW TRANSPORT COMPANIES (INDEX 2015 = 100)


      Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q]
       

    • In Austria, total turnover from inland waterway transport is dominated by passenger transport, due to the higher number of companies active in this field (There are no up-to-date figures for the split of turnover between freight and passenger transport for Austria. The latest figures available are for the year 2014, and they show a share of 56% of passenger transport in total IWW turnover. It can be strongly assumed that this share has risen further in the years 2015-2019, due to the absence of growth in freight transport, and a growing activity in passenger transport). In Q2 2020, a 68% decrease in total Austrian IWT turnover could be observed compared to Q2 2019, which is very similar to the effect in German passenger transport where the observed drop was 72%.

     
     
     

    COST EVOLUTION

    • Fuel costs are analysed on the basis of gasoil/diesel prices published by the energy price monitoring system of the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs. The prices are maximum prices and valid for a purchase volume of at least 2,000 litres of gasoil. As the following figure shows, there is a strong correlation with the evolution of crude oil prices (Brent).
    •  

      FIGURE 13: AVERAGE FUEL PRICES ACCORDING TO THE BELGIAN MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND BRENT CRUDE OIL PRICES INCLUDING FORECAST *


      Sources: ITB and SPF Economie (fuel price), US Energy Information Administration (oil price), Federal Reserve Economic Data (exchange rate US-Dollar/Euro)
      * Oil price forecast from IMF World Economic Outlook, April 2020. This forecast contains the assumption of an appreciation of the Euro (= depreciation of the US-Dollar) from 1.18 US-$ per Euro in September 2020 up to 1.22 US-$ per Euro in Q4 2022. 1 barrel (bbl) = 159 Litre.

       

    • With decreasing oil prices in the first half of 2020, fuel prices declined as well and both indicators picked up only slightly in Q3 2020. With declining fuel costs, inland navigation companies, faced with reductions in transport demand, experienced a reduction in their operational costs.
    • Fuel prices are expected to remain low in 2021. Next to low oil prices, the depreciation of the US-Dollar towards the Euro plays another role. This trend started in May 2020 and is expected to continue in 2021, due to stronger economic damages in the US in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis compared to Europe (See the article in the ”Handelsblatt”, 13 August 2020, with an interview with professor of economics, Dr. Bernd Rürup).
    •  

      FIGURE 14: U.S. DOLLAR / EURO FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE, U.S. DOLLARS TO ONE EURO (DAILY DATA)


      Source: Federal Reserve Economic Data (https://fred.stlouisfed.org)
       

    • A decrease in fuel costs is also expected by Panteia in its cost monitoring, released in February 2020. The reduction in fuel costs is especially relevant for capital intensive new vessels, which have to sail a great number of hours in order to reach the reimbursement of their loans. Next to fuel costs, capital costs are also expected to decrease, as the Covid-19 crisis leads to lower interest rates due to more liquidity flooding the markets and interest rate cuts, in order to stimulate the economy in Europe.