• Germany (913), the Netherlands (510), France (365), Italy (352) and Switzerland (255) register the highest number of day trip vessels in Europe.

• Day trip vessels are an important field for the introduction of new clean technologies. For instance, a 38-meter day trip vessel was introduced on the Seine in Paris in 2018, equipped with 100% electric propulsion.

• Overall, the number of day trip vessels in Rhine countries is rather stable. In large cities, the size of the fleet mostly follows an increasing trend.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

  • Passenger transport on inland waterways has three main segments of activity: river cruises, day trips on rivers/canals (including ferry traffic) and day trips on lakes. According to Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2], the five countries in Europe with the highest turnover in passenger transport are (share of European turnover in percentage points): Switzerland (23.3%), Germany (20.3%), Italy (15.5%), France (13.9%), the Netherlands (8.4%). According to Eurostat definitions, turnover in passenger navigation on inland waterways contains turnover generated by river cruise vessels, day trip vessels on rivers/canals and ferries, and day trip vessels on lakes. Separate turnover figures are not available.
  • There are currently no Eurostat data on the number of passenger vessels or on the number of passengers on inland waterways (In 2019, pilot studies were launched by Eurostat in order to develop databases in the future). Therefore, a statistical analysis of the national databases of European countries was undertaken, and revealed that Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands not only have the highest turnover of all European countries, but also the highest number of day trip vessels (on rivers/canals and lakes taken together, including ferries).
  • For Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland, separate vessel databases for day trip vessels are available. For other countries, in Central and Eastern Europe, only the total number of passenger vessels is indicated by statistical offices or administrations. Nevertheless, it is possible to determine the number of day trip vessels for these countries as well, in an indirect way, by taking into account the number of river cruise vessels for each European country (see chapter on river cruises).
  • By applying this indirect calculation, information on the number of day trip vessels in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania results as follows: out of 117 passenger vessels in Poland, 116 are day trip vessels. The number of passengers was 1.26 million in 2017, compared to 1.28 million in 2016 and 1.1 million in 2015.
  • In the Czech Republic, there were 88 passenger vessels in 2017, compared to 85 in 2016 and 78 in 2015. Out of the 88 passenger vessels in the Czech Republic ‘s register in 2017, 87 are day trip vessels and one is a cruise vessel. In Slovakia, a country with not many lakes, there are currently less than 20 passenger vessels registered.
  • The passenger vessels in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania are all day trip vessels, as none of these countries has a river cruise vessel (see chapter on river cruises). Hungary has a rather high number of day trip vessels (132 in 2017), due to the Danube and the Lake Balaton. The number of day trip passengers on the Danube has decreased in recent years from 709, 000 passengers in 2005 to 216,000 passengers in 2016 due to rising ticket prices. However, the number of passengers on Lake Balaton has remained rather constant over the years and counted 531,000 passengers in 2016 (Source: Information provided by the Hungarian Statistical Office). In Romania, 75 passenger vessels were registered in 2017 and 2016, and 65 in 2015 (Source: Romanian Statistical Institute).
  • Short profiles of the top five countries for the number of registered day trip vessels in Europe:

 

 

  • Germany not only has many rivers, but also many lakes, especially near the Alps and in the north-eastern parts of the country, but less lake vessels registered than in Switzerland or Italy. On the other hand, the number of day trip vessels active on rivers or canals in Germany is the highest in Europe.

 

 

  • The country holds an important position in the day trip vessel segment, where its importance is maybe best shown by the famous day trip vessels in Amsterdam. We will see that the age structure of the Dutch day trip vessels is very similar to that of the German day trip vessels on rivers and canals.

 

 

  • The three segments of passenger navigation are all present in France, but the river segment is the most important. Day trip vessels in Paris, for example, transport more than 7 million passengers per year. Paris has a share of 70% in terms of passengers transported on French day trip vessels.

 

 

  • Switzerland has the highest number of day trip vessels on lakes in Europe. Day trip vessels on rivers, however, play only a very small role. Day trip vessels following a scheduled service on lakes are integrated in the public transport system. More than 11 million passengers are counted each year on these vessels.

 

 

  • The strongest focal point of the country in terms of passenger transport is the lake segment, where Italy has the second highest number of day trip vessels navigating on its lakes. The demand analysis shows that the number of passengers is as high as in Switzerland for this segment. Despite the fact that day trip vessels active on rivers only play a minor role, it is worth nothing that passenger transport on the canals in Venice is not negligible for Italy’s economy (161 vessels active in Venice).

 

DAY TRIP VESSELS ON RIVERS AND CANALS

 

 

  • The two largest German cities, Berlin and Hamburg, play an important role in this segment, as does the Rhine. In Berlin, 127 day trip vessels were registered in 2017 with a home port in Berlin and thus operating on Havel and Spree as well as on the canals in and around Berlin. Hamburg follows close behind, with 105 vessels on the Alster and Elbe. Berlin and Hamburg are also the two German regions where the number of registered day trip vessels has increased the most during the last 10 years: between 2007 and 2017, the number of day trip vessels increased by 25 in Hamburg, and by 14 in Berlin. In terms of capacity (passenger seats), Hamburg registered the strongest growth (+26%) in Germany between 2007 and 2017.
  • In this market segment, the season has been extended from an “Easter to October” scheme by offering boat trips before Christmas. This had not only a positive effect on turnover, but also on the persons working in the sector, who are now mostly hired on a permanent basis, compared to seasonal job contracts in the past.
  • In general, day trip vessels are also an important field for the introduction of new clean technologies. Ship owners currently favour the replacement or conversion of existing day trip vessels rather than new construction. It might be explained by the enforcement of new European technical requirements (from 2008 to 2018) but also important uncertainties regarding alternative propulsion systems in the light of environmental regulations in urban centres.

 

NUMBER OF DAY TRIP VESSELS ON RIVERS AND CANALS IN GERMANY PER REGION

Source: CCNR analysis based on German vessel database (ZBBD)

 

  • The Rhine accounts for 31,155 passenger places. Hereby, the romantic Middle Rhine (famous for its castles and small towns) holds 55% of these capacities, the lower Rhine (with large cities such as Cologne or Düsseldorf) 40% and the Upper Rhine 5%.
  • Comparing these figures with the graph on the number of vessels above, it can be noted that the average number of passenger seats per day trip vessel differs from one region to another. Rhine vessels have a rather large average capacity of 266 seats, similar to vessels on the Moselle & Saar (279). Danube vessels are the largest, with an average of 347 passenger seats in 2017.
  • In Berlin (168) and Hamburg (187), the day trip vessels are much smaller, due to the restricted size of waterways, locks and low bridges in cities (for example, the bridges in the Speicherstadt in Hamburg, built in 1888).

 

GERMAN REGIONS WITH HIGHER CAPACITIES OF DAY TRIP VESSELS (PASSENGER SEATS) IN 2017 COMPARED TO 2007, INCLUDING GROWTH RATE (%)

Source: calculation CCNR based on German vessel database (ZBBD)

 

 

 

  • In the Netherlands, day trip vessels represent an integral part of tourism, especially in Amsterdam with its small canals (Grachten), an UNESCO world heritage site since 2010. According to the city of Amsterdam (https://amsterdam.org/nl/feiten-en-cijfers.php), 165 of these canals exist in the city, with a total length of 75 km. The oldest Gracht dates from 1385. There are 14 locks in the network and 1,282 bridges and, according to the city’s information, the number of rondvaartboten (day trip vessels) amounts to Amsterdam 110.
  • According to the IVR vessel database, more day trip vessels are active in Amsterdam: 143 day trip vessels (The following vessel types of the IVR database were hereby taken into account: day cruise ships, passenger ships Amsterdam type, passenger ferries, passenger ships < 45 m) in the IVR database have Amsterdam as home port, or are owned by companies which have their headquarters in Amsterdam. These 143 vessels represent 28% of the total number of day trip vessels in the country.
  • The comparison with the age structure of the German day trip vessels (on rivers/canals) reveals a similarity in the overall picture (see following graph). Data on the years of construction (source: IVR) show that only a very small part of the Dutch day trip vessels were built after 2009, which is explained by ship owners currently favouring the replacement or conversion of existing day-trip vessels rather than new construction.

 

AGE STRUCTURE OF DAY TRIP VESSELS ON RIVERS OR CANALS IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN GERMANY (%)

Source: CCNR analysis based on IVR database (NL) and ZBBD (DE)

 

  • With regard to demand, there are no official data on the passengers transported over the whole country, but figures provided by the city of Amsterdam are available.

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS ON DAY TRIP VESSELS IN AMSTERDAM (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source: City of Amsterdam (Kerncijfers Amsterdam)

 

  • An increasing trend is observed for the years since 2010. The peak in the year 2016 correlates with a strong fall in another major European city – Paris. Indeed, passenger transport in Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region decreased strongly in 2016, mainly due to the terrorist attacks. The combined results for both cities show that crisis-situations have an impact on tourists’ behaviour, who tend to switch from one destination to another.

 

 

  • The average capacity per vessel differs considerably between Paris (233 passenger seats) and all other parts of France (78). On the national level, where the overall average value amounts to 130, the strong differences in the size of vessels and in touristic concepts is therefore hidden.

 

NUMBER OF DAY TRIP VESSELS ON RIVERS AND CANALS IN FRANCE PER REGION

Source : Voies Navigables de France (VNF)

 

  • The share of Paris and the surrounding region of Ile-de-France is 34% in terms of number of vessels, 61% in terms of capacity (passenger seats) and 70% in terms of passengers transported. This confirms not only the larger size but also the higher degree of utilisation of the Paris day trip vessels. More than half of all passengers in Paris (61%) were foreign tourists in 2017, while this share was only 54% in 2014.
  • The following figure on the passenger demand in Paris shows the strong decrease of passengers in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and 2016, as mentioned above. Passengers now seem to have returned after these crisis years. This is also true for river cruise vessels in Paris (see chapter on river cruises).

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS ON DAY TRIP VESSELS IN PARIS AND ILE-DE-FRANCE REGION (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source : Voies Navigables de France (VNF)

 

  • In Paris, some new developments of the fleet should be mentioned as well: trimaran vessels are being developed, with an electric propulsion, and equipped with audioguides (instead of loudspeakers) in 14 languages, including the languages of three BRIC countries (Hindi, Russian, Chinese).
  • Innovation knows no limits. In 2018, a new, 38-meter-long vessel for the Seine was introduced in Paris, equipped with 100% electric propulsion (no noise, no vibrations), and hosting a Michelin star restaurant. The prices are 100 Euro for a lunch menu with three courses, and up to 500 Euro for dinner, with five courses and wines included (See the article in Le Parisien (August 30th 2018): Alain Ducasse lance son navire ecolo et gastronomique sur la Seine). The rising share of rather wealthy foreign tourists from BRIC countries on the boats in Paris supports the business idea of this company.
  • All other French regions taken together hosted 3.2 million tourists on their boats in 2017. Among these, there are also 0.77 million passengers on day trip vessels in Strasbourg (Source: Batorama). The fleet in Strasbourg includes 10 boats in 2019, each with a capacity of 90-100 seats. The company Batorama plans to acquire other small boats, the so-called “river taxis”, for luxury discovery trips in small groups. Among other projects led by the company, since 2014, it has organised a city tour which includes a visit to the European Parliament.

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS ON DAY TRIP VESSELS IN ALL OTHER REGIONS IN FRANCE (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source : Voies Navigables de France (VNF)

 

DAY TRIP VESSELS ON LAKES

 

 

  • In Switzerland, 150 day trip vessels (of which 142 are active on lakes) belong to the category of public transport. This means that these vessels are open to the public, follow a scheduled service, and therefore require a federal licence (Source: Information provided by the Federal Office for Statistics of Switzerland. The large majority of day trip vessels in Switzerland are active on lakes. Eight vessels are active on the Swiss part of the Rhine and two on the Rhone). The companies that own and operate these vessels can be public or private. Due to the scheduled services (regular timetables for the transport service), a certain overlap between touristic and public passenger transport can be assumed for these vessels. Their number has been quite stable since the year 2000 (Source: Federal Office for Statistics of Switzerland).
  • The second group of day trip vessels in Switzerland are those which do not follow a scheduled service, but are used for day trip tours, for entirely touristic purposes. According to the Federal Office for Statistics, there are currently 105 of these vessels active on Swiss lakes. These two groups of public and private transport vessels form the entire day trip vessel fleet on lakes in Switzerland (247 vessels in total). The operating area of the 142 vessels that follow a scheduled service (public transport) are shown in the following figure.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS ON LAKES IN SWITZERLAND FOLLOWING A SCHEDULED SERVICE (2018)

Source : Office fédéral des transports et Office fédéral de la statistique de la Suisse

 

  • Among the 142 vessels that follow a scheduled service, there are 16 steam-boats, of which eight are active on Lac Léman, five on the Vierwaldstättersee, and the remaining five operate on Zürichsee, Thunersee, Lac de Neuchâtel and Brienzersee. Three of the eight steam-boats active on Lac Léman are now equipped with dieselelectric propulsion systems driving paddle wheels.
  • Regarding the number of passengers, the Federal Office of Statistics produces data for the number of passengers transported by the 142 vessels following scheduled services, but not for the vessels which do not follow a scheduled service. The Office states that the number of passengers transported by the first group of vessels is much higher than the number of passengers transported by the second group of vessels.
  • The passenger figures for Switzerland can be compared to the number of passengers transported on lake vessels in Italy (also scheduled service vessels), presented in the next part of this report. The results show a very similar number of passengers in both countries, but for the year 2012, a drop can be observed in Italy, possibly due to the economic crisis.

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS TRANSPORTED BY VESSELS ON LAKES (SCHEDULED SERVICES) IN SWITZERLAND (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source : Federal Office of Statistics of Switzerland

 

 

  • According to the Italian Ministry of Transport, in 2016 there were 138 vessels on Italian lakes following a regular liner traffic, which is the equivalent of the scheduled service in Switzerland. Recent figures for vessels not operating on a regular liner service are not available, but the latest available figures point to a number of around 53 for this type of lake vessel (Figure for 2009, source: Italian Ministry of Transport).
  • The three lakes Lago Maggiore, Lago di Como and Lago di Garda account together for 71% of all Italian lake vessels operating on a scheduled service. The number of vessels has remained rather constant in recent years.

 

NUMBER OF LAKE VESSELS FOLLOWING A SCHEDULED SERVICE IN ITALY BY REGION (2016)

Source: Italian Ministry of Transport (Conto Nazionale delle Infrastrutture et Trasporto)

 

  • The total number of passengers within liner traffic (11.4 million passengers) is distributed according to the capacities on the lakes in a quite logical manner.

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS ON LAKE VESSELS FOLLOWING A SCHEDULED SERVICE IN ITALY PER REGION (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source: Italian Ministry of Transport (Conto Nazionale delle Infrastrutture et Trasporto)

 

  • As previously mentioned, the demand on lake vessels in Italy dropped quite significantly in 2012, but regained strength afterwards. This could be explained by the economic crisis in 2011 and 2012, which had a more severe impact on the Italian economy than on the Swiss economy.

 

NUMBER OF PASSENGERS TRANSPORTED BY VESSELS ON LAKES (SCHEDULED SERVICES) IN ITALY (IN MILLION PERSONS)

Source : Italian Ministry of Transport (Conto Nazionale delle Infrastrutture et Trasporto)

 

 

  • The hotspots of day trip vessels on lakes in Germany are the regions in the south, with Bavarian lakes (Chiemsee, Starnberger See, Ammersee, Königsee, etc.) and the Bodensee, which is an international lake, shared by Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The lakes in Bavaria had 54 vessels in 2017 with a total capacity of almost 14,000 passenger seats. They represent 45% of the total capacity (passenger seats) in Germany. The average capacity of a lake vessel in Bavaria is of 259 seats.
  • The vessels on the Bodensee and other lakes in the south-western state of Baden-Wurttemberg are even larger, with an average capacity of 343 passenger seats. Lake vessels in the north-eastern parts of Germany (Lake district in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg) are much smaller, with an average capacity of only 57 passenger seats.

 

NUMBER OF VESSELS ON LAKES IN GERMANY BY REGION

Source: CCNR analysis based on German vessel database

 

  • In Bavaria, some companies have to guarantee regular ferry service to islands located in some lakes. The same goes for lakes, rivers and coastal areas in other German federal states (e.g. Hamburg, Mecklenburg, Berlin). Apart from these services, passenger navigation operations are not viewed as part of public transportation services.

 

 

SURVEY AMONG COMPANIES ACTIVE IN DAY TRIP NAVIGATION

 

Introduction

 

  • A questionnaire was developed and sent to 201 day trip navigation companies (Questionnaire available on request). The completed questionnaire was returned by 55 companies (response rate = 27.4 %). The questionnaire contained several questions regarding economic trends in the day trip navigation sector, investment plans, greening activities, short-term and long-term influencing factors for the demand side, etc.
  • Companies in Germany had a share of 46% among the 201 companies that were contacted, and a share of 54% of all companies that returned the completed questionnaire. Companies in the Netherlands and in France each had a share of 17.5% of all companies contacted, and both countries had also the same share within all completed questionnaires (14.5% each). Two more Rhine countries (Belgium and Switzerland) each made up 7.3% of all completed questionnaires. Although Rhine countries represented around 98% of all received (completed) questionnaires, the questionnaire had also been sent to companies in Danube countries as well as in countries in Central and eastern Europe. Non-Rhine countries taken together had a share of 12.4% of all companies that were contacted.
  • The most important results of the survey are shown in the figures below. The idea is to make similar surveys also for future market observation reports, covering other market segments, for example the liquid cargo or the dry cargo sector.

 

Main results of the survey

 

  • It appears that the two most important short- and medium-term factors for passenger demand are the company’s own advertising/marketing activities, followed closely by the weather. The number of visitors in the city or in the region is less important than these two main factors. This might be explained by the fact that in certain regions, passenger demand comes mainly from the population living in the region itself.

 

IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCING FACTORS FOR PASSENGER DEMAND IN THE SHORT- AND MEDIUM-TERM – CONDENSED SURVEY RESULTS (QUESTION 2)*

Source: CCNR survey
* Figures in the chart show the number of companies that answered the question in the indicated way.

 

  • Marketing activities by other organisations were specified in the questionnaire as activities performed by the city, the region, the state, or by tourist associations, professional or trade associations. It shall be seen in the next figure that these ‘external’ marketing activities become more important in the long run.

 

IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCING FACTORS ON PASSENGER DEMAND IN THE MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM – CONDENSED SURVEY RESULTS (QUESTION 3)*

Source: CCNR survey
* Figures in the chart show the number of companies that answered the question in the indicated way.

 

  • In the middle and long run, passenger demand for day trip vessels is also strongly influenced by the company’s own marketing activities. However, in contrast to the short run perspective, marketing activities by other organisations play a much greater role in the long run perspective and are in second place.
  • New thematic tours and more event trips are factors that seem to bear the same influence. The number of foreign tourists in the city or region is considered to be important but stands behind the afore-mentioned factors.
  • In another question (question 5), the companies were asked to indicate the importance of four influencing factors for their investment behaviour. These four influencing factors were taken from different fields: the economic field (demand growth; access to external finance or funding), the technical field (access to onshore electricity) and the regulatory/political field, which also contains many technical aspects.

 

IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCING FACTORS FOR INVESTMENT BEHAVIOUR – CONDENSED SURVEY RESULTS (QUESTION 5)*

Source: CCNR survey
* Figures in the chart show the number of companies that answered the question in the indicated way.

 

  • The graph shows an important tendency: the access to external finance or subsidies is a fundamental precondition for investing.
  • This can be explained by the fact that many day trip vessel companies (and many inland navigation companies in general) are rather small companies, which need to rely on external financing or on funding for realising their investment plans. Behind the financial factor, demand growth and the regulatory and political environment are also quite important. On the other hand, access to onshore electricity is clearly the very last factor taken into consideration by a company before investing.
  • Another question (question 6) contained three parts on greening:

 

a) ‘Are you already using one of the following alternative propulsion technologies [diesel-electric; all-electric (batteries); Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG); Gas-to-Liquid (GTL); hydrogen] aboard your vessels? If so, which ones?’

The most frequent alternative technology indicated by companies was diesel-electric propulsion (44%), followed by pure electric propulsion (34%), and Gas-to-Liquid (16%). LNG and hydrogen propulsion together had a share of 6%.

 

b) ‘Do you have any future plans to convert your fleet or (any additional) parts of it to alternative propulsion systems?’

The replies to this question showed a certain discrepancy between German companies on the one hand (where the plans for a conversion were often indicated as ‘very probable’ or also ‘definitely’), and French companies on the other hand, where the possible answer ‘highly unlikely’ received the large majority of votes. The results of Dutch, Belgian and Swiss companies showed that they lay somewhere between the French and the German types of answer.

 

c) ‘What are the most important constraints currently deterring your company from a large-scale introduction of alternative types of propulsion?’

Five answers (A1-A5) were possible. The companies mostly indicated the following answers: A2 = insufficiently profitable (share of 30% of all answers), A4 = regulatory environment still too uncertain (share of 26% of all answers) and A1 = start-up finance too expensive / shortage of debt capital (share of 25% of all answers).