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• Chapter 3 highlights inland waterway transport in Belgium. Both in Flanders and Wallonia, the largest goods segment is sands, stones, gravel and building materials. This goods segment has a share of 37% of the entire transport volume in Flanders and a respective share of 44% in Wallonia.
• In Belgium, most of the container transport occurs in Flanders. Data from the Flemish waterway administration point to a positive trend until the year 2021, but thereafter to a negative trend.
• The explanation for this pattern is the development of maritime container transport. Indeed, for ports in the North Range, including Belgian seaports, maritime container transport decreased between 2021 and 2023. The reason for this decrease is the decline in world trade that stems from the geopolitical crisis.

 

INLAND WATERWAY NETWORK IN BELGIUM

Map of Belgium, see annual market observation report 2020, page 42

     

    FIGURE 1: QUARTERLY TRANSPORT DEMAND ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN BELGIUM (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: de Vlaamse Waterweg and Service public de Wallonie, CCNR analysis
     

  • According to data from the two main Belgian waterway administrations,4 the northern part of Belgium (the region of Flanders) has a higher transport activity on inland waterways than the southern part of Belgium (the region of Wallonia). With a transport volume of 68 million tonnes in 2022, transport demand on inland waterways in Flanders was twice as high as in Wallonia, where 34 million tonnes were registered. The quarterly transport volumes in Flanders lay in the range between 16 and 18 million tonnes per quarter, compared to a range between eight and ten million tonnes per quarter in Wallonia.
  • Both in Flanders and Wallonia, the largest goods segment is for sands, stones, gravel and building materials, with a share of 37% of the entire transport volume in Flanders and a respective share of 44% in Wallonia.
  • In Flanders, the seven largest goods segments account for 79% of the total inland waterway transport in this region. The evolution over time points to a stability orientated trend for most product segments. The only exception might be the segment of sand, stones, gravel and building materials, for which a slightly negative trend has been observed over recent years.
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    FIGURE 2: YEARLY FIGURES FOR THE SEVEN PRODUCT SEGMENTS WITH THE HIGHEST TRANSPORT DEMAND ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN FLANDERS (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: de Vlaamse Waterweg, CCNR analysis
     

  • In Belgium, most of the container transport takes place in Flanders. Data for container transport in Flanders (source: de Vlaamse Waterweg) point to a positive trend until the year 2021 but afterwards to a negative trend. The explanation for this pattern is the development of maritime container transport. Indeed, for ports in the North Range,5 including Belgian seaports, maritime container transport decreased between 2021 and 2023. The reason for this decrease is the decline in world trade that stems from the geopolitical crisis.6
  • In Wallonia, the seven largest product segments account for 89% of the entire transport on inland waterways in this province. The data show a reduction for the amounts of sands, stones, gravel and building materials between 2016 and 2022. Also, several other product segments reveal a slightly declining trend in Wallonia. Examples are petroleum products, fertilisers and iron ores.
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    FIGURE 3: YEARLY FIGURES FOR THE SEVEN PRODUCT SEGMENTS WITH THE HIGHEST TRANSPORT DEMAND ON INLAND WATERWAYS IN WALLONIA (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: Service public de Wallonie, CCNR analysis
     
     

FACT SHEET IWT IN BELGIUM – ANNUAL FIGURES

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Sources: CCNR analysis based on Eurostat data [sbs_sc_ovw], [iww_go_qnave], [iww_eq_loadcap], [iww_eq_power_ag], [iww_go_atygo]
 
Notes on the factsheet: #) in contrast with transport performance, a country-specific share cannot be calculated for transport volume.
The modal split share is defined as the percentage of inland waterway freight transport performance (in TKM) within total land-based transport performance. Land-based freight transport modes include road, rail and inland waterways. The road freight activity is reported according to the territoriality principle, where international road freight transport data are redistributed according to the national territories of where the transport actually takes place. These principles are implemented in the Eurostat series [tran_hv_frmod].