1. Freight traffic on inland waterways

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• In the first five months of 2020, cargo transport on the Rhine was 11% lower than in the same period in 2019. The Covid-19 crisis had different effects, depending on cargo segments.

• Iron ore transport was affected by the interruption of automobile production and lost 15%. Transport of sands, stones and gravel registered a reduction of 12%, and chemicals of 8%. There were also segments with a positive result: grain transport benefited from good harvest result and increased by 11%. Transport of petroleum products was on the same level as in 2019, as the drop in oil prices triggered more import traffic in March and April.

• On the Middle Danube, goods transport was 1% higher in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The reason was the good harvest result, which triggered an uptake of grain transport by 76%. Downstream grain transport between the Middle Danube and the Black Sea more than tripled. On the other hand, iron ore transport on the Middle Danube lost 32%.

 
 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE

    TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN IWT ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY IN EUROPE – COMPARISON BETWEEN Q1 2019 AND Q1 2020 (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD (Switzerland), Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
     

    FIGURE 1: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (IWT) PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE BY REGION (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], Destatis, Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
     

  • In Q1 2020, transport performance on Dutch and Belgian inland waterways was 7% lower (Dutch waterways) and 8% (Belgian waterways) than in Q1 2019. For the traditional Rhine and the Rhine affluents (Moselle, Main, Neckar), the difference was somehow stronger with -12% (Rhine) and -16% (Rhine affluents). On the Danube, the decrease in transport performance was the smallest, with -5%.
  • In Q1 2020, the effects of the Covid-19 crisis started to be felt in March 2020. A look at detailed transport statistics for the first five months of 2020 shows that the strongest reduction in Rhine transport took place for coal, a segment which, for structural reasons, was already losing volumes before the Covid-19 crisis. Iron ore transport was reduced by 15% as it was affected by the temporary closure of automobile production plants.
  • Transport of chemicals lost 8%, and sands, stones and gravel 12%. Downstream transport of grain and petroleum products registered a plus of 13% each. Grain transport benefited from a good harvest year. The increase for petroleum products is explained by the sharp drop in oil prices in spring 2020, which prompted an early replenishment of heating oil depots, thereby enhancing Rhine transport for these products. However, these effects were diminishing in autumn 2020, according to information provided by the German Federal Transport Office.
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    FIGURES 2 AND 3: RHINE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2019 AND 2020)



    Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis
     

    FIGURES 4 TO 7: MONTHLY GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE TRADITIONAL RHINE IN THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2018, 2019 AND 2020 (UPSTREAM PLUS DOWNSTREAM)





    Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis
     

  • With regard to Danube navigation, for which the statistics are from the measurement point of Mohács on the Middle Danube in southern Hungary, there is a certain parallel to Rhine navigation. Indeed, on the Danube, iron ore also lost volumes, while grain transport increased. In April 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the amount of grain exported from the Middle Danube ports downstream was more than four times higher than in April 2019. This shows that inland navigation was able to play an important role in maintaining logistical chains in a fundamental economic sector.
  • In the first five months of 2020, the most important goods segment in upstream transport on the Danube, iron ore, was heavily impacted by the falling steel and automobile production in Europe. It lost around 33% compared to the first five months of 2019.
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    FIGURES 8 AND 9: DANUBE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR THE MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2020 AND 2019) *



    Source: Danube Commission Market Observation report
    * On the Middle Danube at Mohács / southern Hungary

 
 
 
 

TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES

    FIGURE 10: INLAND SHIPPING TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES (QUARTERLY DATA – IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave]
    For Belgium, Statbel figures for the 2019 and 2020 quarters were corrected in light of the data available from the waterway administrations in Belgium (De Vlaamse Waterweg and SPW Service Public de Wallonie).

 
 
 

DRY BULK, LIQUID BULK AND CONTAINER TRANSPORT

    FIGURE 11: DRY CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)


     

    FIGURE 12: LIQUID CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)


     

    FIGURE 13: CONTAINER TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Sources: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, Destatis, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Service Public de Wallonie, Voies Navigables de France, Romanian Institute of Statistics
    Note: for France and Wallonia, infra-annual container statistics in tonnes are not available. Hence, the product group “machines/other goods/” was assumed to consist mainly of container transport.

     

  • The trend of energy transition, resulting in less coal transport, continued also in the first quarter of 2020. Regarding the Covid-19 crisis, its impact was only partly present in the first quarter (in March). Data for Q2 2020 would be needed to study the effects of Covid-19. Such data were available for the Netherlands, Romania and France, at the time this report was written.
  • For the Netherlands, they show only limited reductions in cargo transport in this second quarter of 2020. IWT figures in the Netherlands decreased by 6% in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. According to these (preliminary) data, there was a decrease of dry cargo transport in Q2 2020 by 9% in the Netherlands (compared to Q2 2019). Liquid cargo lost only 1% and container transport 3%. This rather favourable result for liquid cargo reflects the filling up of storage tanks for oil products, due to the reduction in oil prices in March.
  • The Romanian data show trends that were also observed when looking at data for the Middle Danube at Mohács: a strong drop in iron ore transport, and a strong increase in grain transport. These trends can be explained by the falling European steel production in spring 2020. The strong rise in grain transport reflects the increased export of grain from the Middle Danube ports to the Lower Danube region (Black Sea region).
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    TABLE 1: VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORT IN Q2 2020 COMPARED TO Q2 2019 IN ROMANIA (IN MILLION TONNES)

     Q2 2019Q2 2020Change in %
    Total transport8.197.55-7.9
    Iron ore2.851.50-47.4
    Grain1.442.40+66.4
    Sands, stones, gravel1.952.07+6.2
    Other dry bulk0.490.47-4.7
    Coal0.510.38-24.5
    Metals0.400.30-25.4
    Petroleum products0.420.23-43.5

    Source: Romanian Institute of Statistics (https://insse.ro/cms/en/content/harbour-transport-goods-and-passengers-semi2020)
     

  • In France, transport in the largest cargo segment (sands, stones, gravel) decreased by almost 35% in Q2 2020, due to the temporary closure of important building and construction sites, but transport in the second largest segment (agricultural segment, grain) slightly increased (+0,8%). Indeed, this segment benefited from a good harvest season 2019/2020. All other cargo segments went down. Overall, IWT transport in France fell by 23,6 % in Q2 2020.
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    TABLE 2: VOLUME OF GOODS TRANSPORT IN Q2 2020 COMPARED TO Q2 2019 IN FRANCE (IN MILLION TONNES)

     Q2 2019Q2 2020Change in %
    Total transport14.811.3-23.6
    Sands, stones, gravel6.644.33-34.8
    Grain3.033.06+0.8
    Petroleum products0.960.87-9.8
    Machines, equipment0.890.79-10.9
    Food products0.920.65-29.1
    Chemicals0.520.46-11
    Fertilizer0.390.35-8.6

    Source: VNF
     

    FIGURES 14 TO 19 : EVOLUTION OF CONTAINER TRANSPORT FOR SELECTED EUROPEAN WATERWAYS (IN 1000 TEU)

  • On the Rhine, the TEU result in Q1 2020 was 6.2% higher than in Q4 2019, but also 5.1% lower than in Q1 2019. The Albert Canal increased its result by 7.4% compared to Q4 2019 and by even 13.4% compared to Q1 2019.


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  • While container transport on the Seine and the Rhône suffered under the Covid-19 crisis, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region it even increased, and settled at an all-time-high level in Q2 2020.


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  • Container transport on the Elbe and the Mittelland Canal showed falling TEU volumes in Q4 2019 and Q1 2020. On the Weser and the West German canals, TEU volumes picked up slightly in Q1 2020.


  • Sources: Destatis, De Vlaamse Waterweg, VNF
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