- Despite the containment measures related to the pandemic at the beginning of 2021, the transport performance (TKM) on inland waterways in the EU increased by 4.3% in the first half year of 2021, compared to the same period the previous year (from 66,021 Mio. TKM to 68,864 Mio. TKM). The Netherlands and Germany, the two countries representing the highest share in inland waterway transport in Europe, both reported a growth in transport performance of 5.5% (the Netherlands) and 4.7% (Germany).
- For the Rhine, an increase of 7.0% is observed for the first three quarters of 2021 compared to 2020. This positive development derives from both an increase in transport demand for coal (+30%) and iron ore (+18%) in particular. The discussion on the phasing out of coal has been shifted timewise due to soaring gas prices and a sharp rise in demand for coal from the energy sector. While dry cargo saw an increase in volumes overall, liquid cargo remained on a stable path. With regard to container transport, an increase for Rhine countries is observed.
- Passenger transport recorded a partial recovery in the number of river cruise vessels passing certain locks. However, the maximum capacity of the vessels was far from having been reached which represented a burden for the profitability of the sector.
- The forecast of oil prices remains rather uncertain due to current geopolitical circumstances. Oil prices passed the US$100 mark at the beginning of March 2021. Although a reduction is forecast for 2022, no certainty prevails.
- A special chapter of the report is dedicated to Switzerland, where mineral oil products represent the largest cargo segment in IWW freight transport. The Rhine’s modal share within the Swiss imports of mineral oil products adds up to 24% whereas pipelines have the highest modal share with 36% in 2020.
- Switzerland accounts for a high share within IWW Passenger Transport. In this sector, the financial turnover of Swiss companies represents 25.1% of all the turnover that is generated in the EU and in Switzerland. Swiss companies are active in river cruising on European rivers, but also in day trip shipping on Swiss lakes and on the Swiss part of the Rhine.