• 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.
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