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  • Timber (93%) and raw minerals (70%) are mostly imported goods while forest industry products are mostly exported (99%). Coal and coke, chemical products and other goods are exclusively imported while fertilizers and metals are exclusively exported. Domestic river-sea transport consists in the transport of coal and coke. Timber is mostly imported from Russia and Estonia. The main trading partners of Finland for both export and import of raw minerals and cement are the Netherlands. Most fertilizers are exported to Sweden, Germany and Denmark. The majority of the forest industry’s shipments are exported to the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, as well as France and, to a lesser extent, the UK.

 

 

Additional information

  • Most of the river-sea ships that go through the Saimaa Canal sail under Dutch (31%), Russian (28%) or Antiguan and Barbudan (23%) flags. Other ships sail under Finnish (8%), Cypriot (4%) or other (6%) flags. In 2018, 1,161 river-sea ships went through the Saimaa Canal (+ 177 cargo ships compared to 2017). Until 2011, some river-sea ships also sailed under the German flag.
  • Not all passenger traffic in the Saimaa Canal can be considered as river-sea traffic. Indeed, some passenger ships only cruise along the Finnish side of the Saimaa Canal up to the Mustola lock and return. This is not river-sea transport as it does not involve navigating partly on inland waterways and at sea. Only traffic going through the canal, on passenger ships and pleasure boats, can be considered as river-sea passenger transport. Passenger transport on passenger ships constitutes the most important part of river-sea passenger traffic in Finland (nearly 16,500 passengers in 2018). In 2018, about 2,290 passengers travelled through the Saimaa Canal on pleasure boats. Since 2009, river-sea passenger traffic has been fluctuating between 24,000 and 16,000 passengers per year (Source : Traficom).

 

 

Outlook and specific developments

  • The Saimaa Canal is currently used at a rate of 25%. There is therefore further exploitation potential of this Canal.
  • The programme of Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s Government 2019 states that a development programme for inland waterway transport will be drafted. More specifically, there are plans to promote inland navigation by lengthening the locks in the Saimaa Canal, although it is not yet certain whether such an extension will take place. However, given the plans from certain river-sea companies (especially in the Rhine area) to invest in a new fleet of river-sea ships (as the existing river-sea ships have reached a considerable age), it would be important for these river-sea companies to have more clarity regarding this planned extension as well as the related timetable. In particular, companies in the Rhine area need to know whether or not the locks will be extended. The plans of the Finnish government are crucial for the investment plans of the river-sea transport companies in the Rhine area, as new capital-intensive vessels need to be built soon. They would have to be adapted to the future size of the Saimaa Canal locks, and be active for several decades. Indeed, a possible extension will impact the investment decision of companies looking to renew their fleet, especially when making far-reaching decisions on the dimensions of the newly built river-sea ships. If it takes place, such an extension is expected to have a positive impact for companies active in the river-sea transport sector with a trading partner in Finland.

 

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN GERMANY

 

Definitions and waterway areas

  • In Germany, river-sea transport is not defined according to geographical indications, but according to the port of loading and unloading. If the combination of these two ports – that must be indicated by the ship operator to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) – imply that parts of the journey were made on maritime waters, then a river-sea traffic is assumed.
  • The Rhine, and in particular the Lower Rhine (the region around Düsseldorf, Cologne and Duisburg), plays a central role for river-sea transport from and to Germany.
  • Of all goods loaded or unloaded in Germany and transported by river-sea traffic in 2018, 93% were loaded in the NUTS 2 region of Düsseldorf, which includes the port of Duisburg. In this NUTS 2 region, Duisburg is by far the most important port.

Source: Duisport

 

Transport by origin and destination

  • In total, 760 000 tonnes of goods were transported in 2018 via river-sea transport within, to and from Germany. However, a long-time series (2000-2018) shows that river-sea transport in Germany has been following a downward tendency since 2000.

 

FIGURE 21: EVOLUTION OF RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN GERMANY BY TYPE OF TRANSPORT 2000-2018 (IN MIO.T)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 

  • Within the total German river-sea-transport, export traffic has the largest share, with 71% in 2016 and 65% in 2018. As will be seen below, this is related to the exports of iron, steel and metals, which accounts for the largest amount of river-sea traffic in Germany. The share of import traffic is around one-third, and national river-sea traffic (origin and destination within Germany) has a very minor share.

 

FIGURE 22: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN GERMANY BY TYPE OF TRANSPORT

2016

Chart by Visualizer

2018
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Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 

  • The most important destination for exports of iron, steel and metals is Great Britain, and in particular the Humber estuary region on the north-eastern coast of England. This region offers good natural conditions for river-sea traffic, as the Humber river forms a wide estuary, allowing seagoing ships to sail inland. Around the Humber estuary in the NUTS 2 regions of Lincolnshire, east Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire are numerous ports and terminals (Kingston upon Hull, Grimsby, Immingham, and others). A smaller part of the iron and steel exports goes to Norway and Sweden, as the following tables show.
  • Other destinations within Great Britain are London and Scotland. Norway and Sweden play another major role as export destinations.

 

FIGURE 23: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT OF GERMANY – SHARE OF COUNTRIES FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING IN EXPORTS FROM GERMANY TO ABROAD AND IMPORTS TO GERMANY FROM ABROAD (2018)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from Destatis

 

  • The following three tables show the evolution for the four largest goods segments, as well as the most important trading routes both for export and import traffic.

 

Transport by type of good

  • Iron and steel as well as metals and metal products form by far the most important goods segment in German river-sea traffic. In 2018, pig iron and steel accounted for 63%. Non-ferrous metals and semi-finished products from these accounted for 5%, so that more than two-thirds of all German river-sea transport was linked to iron and steel or related final products.

 

FIGURE 24: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN GERMANY BY TYPE OF GOODS (2018)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

 

  • Within the goods segment of crude iron and steel, 77.5% of river-sea transport in 2018 were exports and only 22.5% imports. For the second largest segment (gaseous, liquefied or compressed petroleum products), imports dominated in 2018 with a share of 98.2%. For non-ferrous metals and related products, there was an export share of 100% in 2018. Finally, sands, stones, gravel and clay were predominantly exported in 2018 (share of 78%).
  • The following three tables show the evolution for the four largest goods segments, as well as the most important trading routes both for export and import traffic.

TABLE 5: VOLUME OF RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN GERMANY AND FOUR LARGEST GOODS CATEGORIES 2016-2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

 201620172018
Total river-sea traffic in Germany1,378980765
·          Crude iron, steel958656482
·          Gaseous, liquefied or compressed petroleum products768258
·          Natural stones, sand, gravel, clay, earth1086434
·          Non-ferrous metals and their semi-finished products504041
Subtotal of four largest goods categories1,191842615
% of Subtotal in total river-sea transport86%86%80%

Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis

TABLE 6: RIVER-SEA TRAFFIC – EXPORTS BY GERMANY – MOST IMPORTANT TRADING ROUTES IN 2018

Region of loading (NUTS 2)Region of unloading (NUTS 2)Goods segmentVolume (in 1,000 tonnes)
DüsseldorfGreat Britain (East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire)Crude iron, steel174
DüsseldorfGreat Britain (Lincolnshire)Crude iron, steel96
DüsseldorfGreat Britain (London)Non-ferrous metals and semi-finished products38
DüsseldorfNorway (Sør-Østlandet)Crude iron, steel33
DüsseldorfSweden (Sydsverige)Crude iron, steel31
DüsseldorfNorway (Vestlandet)Crude iron, steel22
Sum of volumes above393
Total exports by river-sea transport from Germany494

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from Destatis

 

  • Imports by river-sea traffic to Germany contain iron and steel, but also gaseous, liquified or compressed mineral oil products. These last three materials are imported mainly from Norway and Scotland.
  • In contrast to export traffic, which fell relatively sharply between 2017 and 2018, import traffic remained almost stable between 2017 and 2018.

TABLE 7: RIVER-SEA TRAFFIC – IMPORTS BY GERMANY – MOST IMPORTANT TRADING ROUTES IN 2018

Region of loading (NUTS 2)Region of unloading (NUTS 2) Goods segmentVolume (in 1,000 tonnes)
Norway (Agder og Rogaland)DüsseldorfGaseous, liquefied or compressed petroleum products32
LithuaniaDüsseldorfCrude iron, steel25
Norway (Vestlandet)DüsseldorfCrude iron, steel19
Norway (Vestlandet)DüsseldorfStones, sands, gravel, clay18
France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais)DüsseldorfCrude iron, steel18
Great Britain (East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire)DüsseldorfCrude iron, steel16
Great Britain (Eastern Scotland)CologneGaseous, liquefied or compressed petroleum products16
Sum of volumes above144
Total imports by river-sea transport to Germany252

Source: CCNR analysis based on data from Destatis

 

  • Container traffic is of little relevance within German river-sea transport: in 2017 only 245 TEU were transported between the Lower Rhine region and Great Britain.
  • National river-sea traffic (loading region and unloading region areas in Germany) amounted to around 10,000 tonnes in 2017. The largest share of this was grain transport (around 3,000 tonnes) from the Baltic coastal region in Germany (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) by river-sea ships to the Lower Rhine (NUTS 2 Düsseldorf region). In 2018, the national river-sea traffic was higher than during the previous year, reaching 16,255 tonnes. The largest part of this was coal transported from Schleswig-Holstein to Berlin by river-sea ships (just under 6,000 tonnes).

 

 

Some features about river-sea transport at Duisport

  • In 2018, 264 river-sea ships called at Duisport, but only eight did so between August and November 2018, due to low water levels. Indeed, the first business area of the port impacted by the 2018 low water period was river-sea transportation. Up to September 2019, 227 river-sea ships called at the port. According to Duisport, securing river-sea activity in an inland port comes with challenges, particularly in terms of compliance with security requirements (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and ensuring secured waiting areas for river-sea ships) and heavy bureaucracy (customs, immigration, IMO). Moreover, Duisport is often treated as a seaport due to the seagoing ships calling at the port. On the other hand, river-sea shipping also presents opportunities, in particular, it allows avoiding congestion and bottlenecks such as deep-sea ports (decentralised traffic), to bypass EU-boarders such as Dover-Calais and rural area connections, and consists in an ideal complementary route for players in the IWT sector.

 

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN FRANCE

 

Definitions and waterway areas

  • In France, river-sea transport is understood to be a transport operation on a single seagoing ship, partly on inland waterways and partly on maritime waters, without transhipment (goods or passengers). A seagoing ship must comply with inland waterway regulations once it crosses onto a “line” defined by regulations and known as “1st obstacle to the navigation of ships” (1er obstacle à la navigation maritime. The 1st obstacle to the navigation of ships is : for the Rhône the « pont de Trinquetaille » ; for the Seine the “pont Jeanne-d’Arc” in Rouen (décret n° 59-951 du 31 juillet 1959 portant ‎fixation des limites de l’inscription maritime ‎dans les estuaires, fleuves, rivières et canaux ‎fréquentés par les bâtiments de mer)).
  • In France, river-sea shipping is concentrated in two main river basins:
    – the Rhône (up to Lyon)-Saône (up to Pagny) basin.
    – the Seine (up to Evry)-Oise (up to Nogent-sur-Oise).
  • Some river-sea transport is also recorded on the Gironde, with fluctuating volumes depending on the years. Occasionally, some river-sea transport can be observed on Rhine affluents (for instance in 2016 and 2018) or on the Schelde (for instance in 2017 and 2018).
  • In addition, on the Loire, the specific segment of marine aggregates was transported via river-sea transport up to 2013. However, no specific data are recorded for this type of traffic.

Source: VNF

 

 

Transport by origin and destination

  • River-sea goods transport has been fluctuating since 1980. The amount of cargo transported by river-sea shipping increased from 1980 to 1997 and has been following a rather downward trend ever since. In 2018, river-sea cargo traffic amounted to 0.75 million tonnes, compared to 1.4 million tonnes in 2010. In 2018, export traffic represented 68% of total river-sea transport in France while import traffic represented 32% (Loading and unloading regions outside France are not collected by VNF, only the name of the first port of entry or the last port of exit is included in French statistics. For imports from and exports toward:
    – the Manche/North Sea basin, the first port of entry/last port of exit is the Port of Le Havre.
    – the Mediterranean basin, the first port of entry/last port of exit is the Port-of-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône.
    More detailed data were made available for the Seine basin via Haropa – Statistiques port de Rouen)
    .

 

FIGURE 25: EVOLUTION OF TOTAL RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN FRANCE BY ORIGIN AND DESTINATION FROM 2010 TO 2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: Haropa Statistiques port de Rouen (data on the Seine), VNF (data on other rivers)

FIGURE 26: EVOLUTION OF TOTAL RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT ON THE RHÔNE AND SEINE BASIN (IMPORT AND EXPORT) FROM 2010 TO 2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Rhône

Chart by Visualizer

Source: VNF

 

  • On the Rhône basin, river-sea transport is positioned at the beginning of the value chain for the transport of raw materials (not yet transformed). It is therefore sensitive to changes of the economic climate of specific industries, such as the steel and agricultural industries, as well as to price fluctuations of raw materials and agricultural products. The low water levels can here play an important role as they increase transport prices, which is of importance for mass cargo that needs low transport prices in order to be sold under competitive price conditions. An increase in waterway transport prices therefore increases the risk of modal shift to other modes of transport, especially rail.
  • Regarding exports, mainly ores and metallurgical scrap are exported to Turkey, as well as cereals and wood products mainly to Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Italy. For imports, mainly metal products are imported from the Mediterranean basin. Clay is also imported from Italy and fertilizers from Tunisia and Egypt.

 

Seine

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Source: Haropa – Statistiques port de Rouen

 

  • On the Seine, the decrease in export traffic observed since 2012 can be attributed to a constant decrease in exports of agricultural products, both for animal and human consumption, and of steel products, mainly towards the UK. The decrease in import traffic observed since 2013 can be attributed to a strong and constant decrease in imports of steel products, from 128,000 tonnes in 2012 to 0 in 2018. In 2013 and 2014 important volumes of coal (respectively 102 and 51 thousand tonnes) were imported, which compensated for the decrease in steel products over the same period. Imports of coal via river-sea transport came to a halt in 2015. Today, only fertilizers (ammonium nitrate) from Antwerp is imported via river-sea transport on the Seine.

 

Transport by type of good

FIGURE 27: EVOLUTION OF TOTAL RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN FRANCE AND PER MAIN GOODS SEGMENTS FROM 2010 TO 2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: CCNR analysis based on Voies Navigables de France (VNF)

 

  • This decreasing trend can be explained by an important decline since 2010 in agricultural products by river-sea transport and, to a lesser extent, raw minerals, building material and metal products. Transport of ores and metallurgical scrap recorded strong fluctuations between 2010 and 2018.
  • Taken together ores and metallurgical scrap (31%) as well as agricultural products (32%) represent the most important goods segment in French river-sea traffic, followed by metal products (16%).

 

FIGURE 28: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN FRANCE IN 2018 BY TYPE OF GOODS (IN %)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: CCNR analysis based on VNF data

 

  • Approximately 85% of all goods exported via river-sea transport are unloaded in the Mediterranean basin, while 14% are exported to the Manche/North Sea Basin. Agricultural products, ores and metallurgical scrap are the most important segments for exports. Metal products are the third most important goods segment for exports, all exported through the Port of Le Havre. Less than one thousand tonnes of machinery and vehicles are exported via river-sea traffic towards the Atlantic region after being loaded in the Gironde/Garonne basin.

 

TABLE 8: RIVER-SEA EXPORTS FROM FRANCE – MOST IMPORTANT TRADING ROUTES IN 2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Region of loadingCountry and region of unloadingGoods segmentVolume
Rhône basinMediterranean basin – mainly Turkey Ores and metallurgical scrap213
Rhône basinMediterranean basin - mainly Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and AlgeriaAgricultural products (in particular cereals)200
Seine basinMainly UK and FinlandMetal products44
Seine basinMainly UK, the Netherlands and BelgiumAgricultural products14
Sum of volumes above471
Total exports by river-sea transport from France510

Source: CCNR analysis based on VNF data

 

  • Ninety percent of all goods imported via river-sea transport into France come from regions located in the Mediterranean basin (in particular Spain, Italy, Algeria and Turkey), most of which are unloaded in the Rhône basin. Other loading regions are located in the Manche/North Sea Basin (especially the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) and the Atlantic basin, most of which is unloaded in the Seine basin. Thirty-three percent of all river-sea-shipping imports to France consist of metal products imports. The second most important goods segment for river-sea shipping imports to France is the raw and building materials segment (23%).

 

 

TABLE 9: RIVER-SEA IMPORTS TO FRANCE – MOST IMPORTANT TRADING ROUTES IN 2018 (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Country and region of loadingRegion of unloading Goods segmentVolume
Mediterranean basinRhône basinMetal products78
Mediterranean basin - mainly Italy, Spain, Tunisia and AlgeriaRhône basinRaw minerals and building materials65
AntwerpSeine basinFertilizers21
Manche/Mer du Nord BasinMoselleRaw minerals and building materials3
Atlantic regionGironde/Garonne basinMachinery and vehicles2
Sum of volumes above169
Total imports by river-sea transport to France243

Source: CCNR analysis based on VNF data

 

 

Transport volume by inland waterway

FIGURE 29: RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN FRANCE BY INLAND WATERWAY (IN 1,000 TONNES)

Chart by Visualizer

Source: VNF

 

 

Additional information regarding the fleet

  • The number of river-sea ships navigating on the Seine basin has halved since 2013, with 45 river-sea ships in 2013 compared to 20 in 2018. On the Rhône basin, the number of river-sea ships has remained identical with 21 ships. River-sea ships are registered under the following flags:
    – on the Rhône basin: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, and St Vincent;
    – on the Seine basin: the Netherlands (6), St Vincent (5), Antigua and Barbuda (4), Lithuania (2) and the Bahamas (2).

 

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN PORTUGAL

  • In Portugal, river-sea transport only takes place on the Douro. The large majority of river-sea transport on the Douro (APTMCD – Intermodal Promotion Centre Portugal) consists in 27,000 tonnes of sand and stones being exported to Germany (15,000 tonnes), Great Britain (2,000 tonnes), Sweden (9,000 tonnes) and Norway (1,000 tonnes).

 

 

RIVER-SEA OUTSIDE THE EU

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN RUSSIA (Source: Russian Chamber of Shipping)

 

Definitions and waterway areas

  • Russia disposes of very good natural conditions for river-sea shipping. Compared to rivers in the European Union, rivers are very wide and are thus navigable by seagoing ships until far into the interior. According to the Russian Chamber of Shipping, the inland waterways network in Russia is 101,7 thousand km long. The Volga and the Neva rivers are particularly relevant for river-sea transport in Russia.
  • In 2019, the number of river-sea ships with class of the Russian River Register amounted 1,190 transport ships, including 849 motorized and 341 non-motorized (Register Book of vessels with the Russian River Register class, www.rivreg.ru/activities/class/reg-book).They are operating exclusively under the Russian flag.
  • As for river-sea ships in the EU, Russian river-sea ships must comply with the international SOLAS convention, as well as with specific national provision related to transport safety and security. The challenges of river-sea transport in Russia also mirror those of river-sea transport in the EU: maintenance of inland waterway infrastructure, strong competition from other modes, low water situations and the ageing of the fleet (which is, on average, 32 years in Russia).

 

 

Transport by origin and destination

  • Trading areas for Russian river-sea ships are the following: the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Azov-Black sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caspian Sea and the north and far eastern regions of Russia.
  • In 2013, river sea transport in Russia amounted to almost 11 million tonnes. In 2018, around 25 million tons were carried by river-sea ships. The main trading partners are Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Greece, France and Croatia.

 

 

Transport by type of good

  • The main cargo transported by river-sea transport within Russia are cereals, fertilizers, steel and wood products. Main export commodities transported by river-sea ships are oil and oil products, grain, coal, timber, metals and fertilizers.

 

 

Outlook and specific developments

  • In the context of Russia’s strategy for the development of inland waterway transport by 2030, the building of 490 new river-sea ships is foreseen.

 

 

RIVER-SEA TRANSPORT IN UKRAINE

  • In 2019, the number of river-sea ships in Ukraine amounts to 139, of which 18 motorized vessels with the total gross tonnage of 29,757, and 76 non-motorized vessels with the total gross tonnage of 116,484 and 25 tugs and pushers (Register of ships with class of the Shipping Register of Ukraine, http://en.shipregister.ua/pdf/reg-ships.pdf).
  • Ukraine shares the Lower Danube with Romania and Moldova. Notably, the river-sea ports of Izmaijl and Reni are ports where seagoing vessels can load and unload cargo.
  • Unfortunately, it was not possible to receive data on this traffic for the present report. Another waterway that enjoys river-sea transport, according to viadonau, is the Kilia-Bystroe Canal in Ukraine (also in the Danube Delta), where 1.5 million tonnes of river-sea traffic were counted in 2017 (+ 362.1% compared to 2016).