LOADING CAPACITY OF SELF-PROPELLED CARGO VESSELS AND DUMB AND PUSHED BARGES (1,000 T)*

Source : Eurostat [iww_eq_loadcap]
* Dry cargo and tanker vessels taken together.

 

  • The Italian fleet contained 14 push & tug boats in 2017, compared to 219 push & tugs in Poland, 92 in the United Kingdom, 71 in Czech Republic and 37 in Lithuania.
  • The average loading capacity of cargo carrying vessels in these five countries is lower than the values observed for the fleets in Rhine countries. Among these five countries, the Czech vessels had an average loading capacity of 626 tonnes in 2017 and hereby were even the largest ones. For the Polish fleet, an average value of 501 tonnes is observed for 2017, and 310 tonnes for the British fleet. Overall, the smallest vessels are Lithuanian with an average loading capacity of only 159 tonnes.
  • In the following distribution of vessels, according to size classes for the Polish and Lithuanian fleets, the majority of vessels that fall into the size class < 1,000 t actually have a much lower loading capacity than 1,000 tonnes.

 

NUMBER OF POLISH CARGO CARRYING VESSELS BY LOADING CAPACITY*

Source: Statistical office of Poland
*Self-propelled vessels and dumb and pushed barges. Without push & tugs.

 

NUMBER OF LITHUNIAN CARGO CARRYING VESSELS BY LOADING CAPACITY*

Source: Statistical office of Lithuania.
*Self-propelled vessels and dumb and pushed barges. Without push & tugs.

 

AGE STRUCTURE OF FLEETS

(The age distribution of fleets is not available for all countries in Europe)
 

  • The fleets of the European countries are not only of different size, but have also a different average age and a different age structure. For the comparison between the Belgian and the German vessels, it can be noted that a greater number of German vessels were constructed before the end of the 1990s. However, for the vessels built after 1999, the Belgian fleet shows a higher number of vessels.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS PER YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION IN THE BELGIAN AND GERMAN FLEET*

Source: CCNR based on German Waterway and Shipping administration, Belgian ministry of transport.
* Included are dry cargo vessels, liquid cargo vessels and push & tug boats.

 

  • The Danube fleet has a high number of vessels that were built between 1960 and 1990. Since the year 2000 not many new vessels were built for the Danube.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS PER YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION IN DANUBE COUNTRIES*

Source: Danube Commission
*Included are dry cargo vessels, liquid cargo vessels and push & tug boats.

 

  • For the Polish and Czech fleets, the age structure shows also that only very few new vessels were built in the new millenium starting in the year 2000.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS PER YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION IN THE POLISH AND CZECH FLEETS

Source: Statistical Office of Poland and Czech Ministry of Transport

 

NEW VESSEL CONSTRUCTION

 

  • In 2018, the new loading capacity that was added to the market fell in the dry cargo sector, while it increased by 18% in the liquid cargo sector. In 2018, 17 new dry cargo vessels (self-propelled cargo vessels and pushed barges) came on the market (nine of them in the Netherlands). This newbuilding rate represented a decrease compared to 2017, both in terms of number of vessels and in terms of loading capacity added.
  • The tanker segment increased its newbuilding rate in 2018 for the third year in a row. One third of the new 2018 tanker vessels were in the Dutch register, another third in the German register, and the remaining third are in the registers of Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. With four out of 28 new tankers, Luxembourg increased its share strongly compared to previous years.

 

NEW CAPACITY COMING ON THE MARKET IN DRY AND TANKER CARGO SECTORS (TONNAGE 1,000 T)

Source : IVR

 

NEW DRY CARGO VESSELS COMING ON THE MARKET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTER (NUMBERS, 2011-2018)

Source : IVR

 

  • The three largest new dry cargo vessels (with a loading capacity of over 3,000 tonnes) were put into service in the Netherlands (MS PANERAI, MS REHOBOTH) and in France (MS PYTHAGORE).

 

NEWLY BUILT DRY CARGO VESSELS IN 2018 ACCORDING TO LOADING CAPACITY

Source : IVR

 

 

  • In 2018, nine new tanker vessels were registered in the Netherlands and nine new vessels were also registered in Germany. In Belgium and Luxembourg, four new tanker vessels were registered, and one new vessel in France and Switzerland.

 

NEW TANKER VESSELS COMING ON THE MARKET PER COUNTRY OF REGISTER (NUMBERS, 2011-2018)

Source : IVR

 

  • The three largest new tanker vessels are to be found in Belgium, and these vessels have a loading capacity of over 8,000 tonnes (MS MONFORD, MS ANTWERPIA, MS MARBELLA).

 

NEWLY BUILT TANKER VESSELS IN 2018 ACCORDING TO LOADING CAPACITY

Source : IVR

 

 

  • New tug boats, push boats and push-tugs are less frequently observed. In the period between 2012 and 2018, only 23 newbuildings from this group came on the European market, and 15 out of the 23 were in the Netherlands. In 2018, there were three newbuildings, compared to four in 2017.

 

CAPACITY MONITORING

 

Dry cargo vessels

  • In 2018, the average utilisation rate (Defined as the relationship between the needed tonnage (needed due to transport demand in a certain year) and the available tonnage of that same year, in %. The methodology is available on demand) of the dry cargo fleet increased sharply compared to 2017. In the corresponding graph, the evolution of the demand/supply ratio in inland navigation is plotted for the different fleet segments. It should be noted that all vessel categories contributed to the increase in capacity utilisation, mainly as a result of the severe low water levels on the Rhine river which affected navigation negatively in the second half of 2018. In November 2018, water levels reached a multiannual low on nearly all Rhine river sections.

 

CAPACITY UTILISATION OF THE RHINE FLEET(DRY CARGO VESSELS) OVER TIME PER FLEET SEGMENT (IN %)

Source: Panteia based on data provided by the CCNR

 

  • It should be noticed that the average fleet utilisation rates had the sharpest rise for vessels with a load capacity over 2,000 tonnes. The major reason for this is the extreme vulnerability of these vessels to extreme water conditions, both for high water and low water. Most new builds in the period 2007-2012 in this vessel class were optimised for sailing under high water level conditions. Full payload can be achieved only at very high water levels on the Rhine. As a consequence, the reduction in payload is more severe when water levels drop significantly. In order to accommodate large payloads, the vessels lightweight (without cargo) and the corresponding draft, is also high. This results in minimum payloads under low water conditions. Several large dry cargo vessels were not able to reach the Middle- and Upper Rhine in November last year, as the draft in the Middle-Rhine sections was not sufficient to even allow empty vessels of the largest capacities.
  • Contrarily, the capacity utilisation rose less sharply for vessel categories <1,000 tonnes and 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes. These vessels are generally optimised for navigating the Dutch or German canal networks with significant draft limitations (2.50 to 2.80 metres). The light weight and empty draft of these vessels is relatively low, which allows them to pass the shallow section of the Middle Rhine even under difficult low water conditions. The products that are generally transported by vessels in these size classes are agricultural products.
  • It has been clear from the last years that the dry cargo fleet has shown a structural recovery from the crisis. All-time low water levels, both in absolute terms and also regarding the time span, resulted in pre-crisis capacity utilisation levels for all vessel categories. No overcapacity has been seen in the last year for any vessel size class; in the second half of 2018, even shortages were noted. However, an increase in fleet capacity is not recommended for barge owners as the underlying cause can be found in incidental water levels. Barge owners, however, should rethink the vessel design and optimise the current fleet to sail under low water conditions. This could also make the fleet less vulnerable to high water levels.

 

Liquid cargo vessels

  • In 2018, the average utilisation rate of the liquid cargo fleet rose by 21 percentage points from 64% to 85%. The major reason for this increase is the decommissioning of single hull tankers on the one hand, which reduced the fleet capacity significantly (2018 was the last year in which single-hull tankers could be used to transport gasoline according to ADN rules) and on the other hand, the severe low water levels which affected navigation on the Rhine during the entire second half of 2018.

 

CAPACITY UTILISATION OF THE RHINE FLEET(LIQUID CARGO VESSELS) OVER TIME PER FLEET SEGMENT (IN %)

Source: Panteia based on data provided by the CCNR

 

  • As a result of the above-mentioned causes, the capacity utilisation rates of all fleet categories increased significantly. This was especially true for the largest vessel size class, tankers with a load capacity of 2,000 tonnes and more, which were affected by the low water levels. When the water levels on the Rhine dropped below 1.40 metres in the shallow sections near Kaub and Maxau, many vessels of the largest size classes were not able to navigate upstream. Therefore, important liquid bulk destinations as Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Karlsruhe or Basel could not be reached during the months of October and November. On rare occasions, some large single hull tankers could be deployed to transport gasoline upstream. In other circumstances, smaller vessels (1,000 to 2,000 tonnes) were deployed on Rhine stretches.
  • It should be noted that in the past year, no overcapacity was identified in the liquid bulk sector. Shortages of vessels were noted in all size classes, as a result of the low water levels and the extreme vulnerability of the fleet to low water conditions. This should however be seen as an incidental year. This is also the case for the dry bulk sector, shippers and barge owners should rethink the vessel design and optimise it in such a way that dry bulk can be transported to the Middle and Upper Rhine even during low water periods
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