• Low waters affected vessels’ loading degrees and cargo transport to a different degree, depending on the regions.
• On the Upper and Middle Rhine (between Basel and Cologne), vessels’ maximum loading degrees fell to levels between 40 % and 50 %, while they remained above 60 % for the Lower Rhine (between Cologne and Duisburg).
• Freight rates on the Rhine and the Danube rose strongly due to the decrease of the available effective transport capacity. However, for vessels operating in the Netherlands, where the low water period was less severe, the price increase was very limited.
IWT COMPANIES – DISTRIBUTION IN EUROPE
NUMBER OF IWT COMPANIES PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE
Source: Eurostat [sbs_na_1a_se_r2] for all countries, except: StatBel (Belgium), Bundesamt für Statistik (Switzerland)
WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN THE RHINE BASIN
MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE RHINE (%)
Source: Calculation CCNR based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity
- The maximum loading degrees differ according to vessel type and the location of a river. They are calculated by the CCNR on a monthly basis, based on a formula that takes into account specific waterway parameters and the water level data themselves (for more information on the method, see the journal “SVS aktuell” of the “Schweizerische Vereinigung für Schifffahrt und Hafenwirtschaft” (Swiss Association for Shipping and Ports), edition December 2018 / January 2019, pages 7-8).
- According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (see: Ademmer, M.; Jannsen, N.; Kooths, S.; Mösle, S. (2019). Niedrigwasser bremst Produktion (Low water slows production level), in: Wirtschaftsdienst 99 (1), 79-80), the low water period on the Rhine curbed the growth rate of industrial production in Germany in Q3 2018 by 0.8 percentage points, equivalent to 1.9 billion euros. Temporary interruptions of logistical chains, notably for the chemical industry and for container traffic, are mainly responsible for this loss.
- The correlation between goods transport on the Rhine and water levels / loading degrees shows that larger vessels are more vulnerable to low water periods. This raises the question of new/updated logistical concepts and low draught ships, including the possible revival of smaller vessels in the future.
QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT ON THE RHINE AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES AT KAUB/RHINE
Source: Calculation CCNR based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity
WATER LEVELS AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN THE DANUBE BASIN
MAXIMUM LOADING DEGREE OF VESSELS WITH A DRAUGHT OF 3 M AT GAUGING STATIONS ALONG THE DANUBE (IN %)
Source: Calculation CCNR based on data provided by the Federal German Office of Hydraulicity, viadonau and the General Directorate of Water Management in Hungary
- Within the Danube basin, a relatively limited impact of low waters on vessels’ loading degrees in Austria and Hungary can be observed. However, a more pronounced impact on Germany is visible. This can be explained by the fact that the German Danube is a free-flowing river in many parts.
QUARTERLY GOODS TRANSPORT IN HUNGARY AND VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREES IN BUDAPEST
Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave] and calculation CCNR based on data from General Directorate of Water Management in Hungary
- In Hungary, not only low water periods, but also ice periods (for example in Q1 2017) and the general seasonality of Danube transports – related to the agricultural segment – affect transport activity and operating conditions quite strongly.
FREIGHT RATES AND BUNKER PRICES IN THE RHINE BASIN
CBS FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR THE NETHERLANDS, BUNKER PRICES AND OIL IMPORT COSTS*
Source: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistik (Netherlands), CBRB and IEA
* Volume-weighted average costs, includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Canada and USA, cost of insurance and freight included (cif)
- The CBS conducts regular surveys among 80 Dutch IWW companies, eight times per year. The prices include fuel and low water surcharges. The revenue of a company determines the influence it has on the price index. According to this index, dry bulk freight rates of companies in the Netherlands increased strongly in Q3 2018, reflecting partly the international traffic towards the Rhine hinterland where low water levels were present.
- The liquid bulk part of the CBS index includes freight traffic in multiple areas, such as the Rhine, but also shorter trips within the ARA area (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) and other locations within the Netherlands where the water level has less impact on the amount of cargo that can be shipped. It contains spot market rates as well as (long-term) contract rates, and the delivery of all types of liquid bulk (chemicals, diesel, fuel oil, methanol, naphta, sunflower oil, etc.)
- The liquid bulk PJK index is a spot market index based on the transport of oil products from the ARA region via the Rhine to destinations in Germany, France and Switzerland. Its spot market character and the fact that it is based purely on the ARA-Rhine trade, where water levels had a stronger impact on the market than in the Netherlands, explain the differences in its evolution compared to the CBS index for liquid cargo.
PJK FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR LIQUID CARGO FROM THE ARA REGION TO DESTINATIONS ALONG THE RHINE – COMPARED WITH VESSELS’ LOADING DEGREE AT MAXAU/UPPER RHINE*
Source: Calculation CCNR based on PJK International and German Federal Office for Hydrology
* Gasoil freight rates including pilotage, harbour and canal dues
Left figure: average freight rate level, right figure: per destination
- Freight rates also differ according to vessel classes. Each waterway is limited by the dimensions of the locks and boat lifts. The Classification of European Inland Waterways (CEMT) is a set of standards for navigable waterways and vessel classes.
- The following figure shows that freight rates for larger vessels increased markedly during low water periods. This is because the supply side (loading capacity) of larger vessels is more affected during low water periods than the supply side for smaller vessels.
- The freight rates per CEMT-class include all kinds of dry cargo and all sailing areas in the Rhine basin. However, the smaller vessel classes (CEMT class I & II = Vessel types Spits and Kempenaar with a cargo capacity of up to 650 t) generally transport agricultural products on the spot market and mainly operate on Dutch and Belgian waterways.
PANTEIA FREIGHT RATE INDEX FOR DRY CARGO TRANSPORT PER CEMT WATERWAY CLASSES (2015=100)
FREIGHT RATES AND BUNKER PRICES IN THE DANUBE BASIN
- According to the Danube Commission, the average bunker price in the Danube region was 710 to 735 US-$ per tonne in Q1 2018 and Q2 2018, and 755 US-$ per tonne in Q3 2018. This corresponds to 127€ to 132€ per 100 litre in the first half year, and to 136€ per 100 litre in Q3 2018, which is well above the price level in Western Europe (see previous page).
- There has been a strong price increase in bunker costs in recent times: in the first nine months of 2018, the costs were 27 % above the average level of 2017 (source: Danube Commission (2019), Market Observation Danube navigation, first 9 months 2018).
- Freight rates in the Danube region were pushed upwards by rising bunker costs and by the low water levels in parts of the Danube. Freight rates for upstream transport on the Danube (where iron ore and coal are transported) were higher than freight rates for downstream traffic.
FREIGHT RATE INDEX IN DANUBE SHIPPING
Source: Danube Commission, analysis CCNR
EVOLUTION OF BUNKER PRICES IN THE DANUBE REGION
QUARTERLY IWT TURNOVER EVOLUTION PER COUNTRY IN EUROPE
Quarterly data on turnover in IWT are at present only available for very few countries, due to statistical limitations. EUROSTAT presents data for the NACE sector H50 (water transport) which covers maritime and IWT transport together. Based on this dataset, it is possible to identify turnover in IWT only for countries with almost no activity in maritime shipping. For France, Germany and the Netherlands, quarterly turnover data are provided by the national statistical offices (INSEE; Destatis, CBS).
TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN GERMANY – MAINLY GOODS TRANSPORT*(2015=100)
Source: Source: CBS, Destatis
* For the Netherlands, the series contains turnover from total IWT, but goods transport has a very high share of 92 %; for Germany, the series contains only turnover from goods transport.
- Despite a drop of goods transport in the Netherlands and Germany, turnover picked up. The reason was the increase in freight rates, due to the low water levels (see previous pages).
- Railway and road goods transport in Germany witnessed a somewhat flat turnover evolution during the years 2017 and 2018. But the turnover level in Q3 2018 was 12-13 % higher than in the reference year 2015, whereas turnover in German IWT was – despite the rise in Q3 2018 – still 3 % lower than in 2015.
- In the Netherlands, turnover in railway goods transport in Q3 2018 exceeded the level of 2015 by 9 %. As in Germany, its evolution since 2017 has been rather flat, but on a higher overall level than in inland shipping (source: Destatis (Germany) and CBS (Netherlands)).
TURNOVER DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA, FRANCE AND GERMANY – MAINLY PASSENGER TRANSPORT*(2015=100)
Source: Eurostat [sts_setu_q] for Austria, Destatis for Germany and INSEE for France
* For Austria, the series contains turnover from total IWT, but the sector activity is dominated by passenger transport; for Germany and France, the data contain only turnover in passenger transport.
- Turnover of Austrian, French and German passenger shipping companies showed the usual seasonal variations, proving that this segment was not too severely affected by the low water levels. The number of cruise vessels on the Upper Danube at the German-Austrian border was 6 % higher in 2018 than in 2017.
- Passenger shipping was also not severely affected on the Middle Danube. According to the Danube Commission, the number of cruise vessels passing the lock at Mohacs in southern Hungary was only 3 % lower in Q3 2018 than one year previously (Market Observation of the Danube Commission, results of the first nine months of 2018).
- For the interpretation of these figures, it should be said that most of the 228 river cruise vessels active on the Danube are registered and owned by companies in Rhine countries: 54% are registered in Switzerland, 18% in Germany, 5% in the Netherlands and also 5% in France. In addition, 14 % of the Danube cruise vessels are Registered in Malta. Vessels registered in Danube countries have a share of only 3 % of the cruise fleet active on the Danube.