• Despite the containment measures related to the pandemic at the beginning of 2021, the transport performance (TKM) on inland waterways in the EU increased by 4.3% in the first half year of 2021, compared to the same period the previous year (from 66,021 Mio. TKM to 68,864 Mio. TKM). The Netherlands and Germany, the two countries representing the highest share in inland waterway transport in Europe, both reported a growth in transport performance of 5.5% (the Netherlands) and 4.7% (Germany).
  • For the Rhine, an increase of 7.0% is observed for the first three quarters of 2021 compared to 2020. This positive development derives from both an increase in transport demand for coal (+30%) and iron ore (+18%) in particular. The discussion on the phasing out of coal has been shifted timewise due to soaring gas prices and a sharp rise in demand for coal from the energy sector. While dry cargo saw an increase in volumes overall, liquid cargo remained on a stable path. With regard to container transport, an increase for Rhine countries is observed.
  • Passenger transport recorded a partial recovery in the number of river cruise vessels passing certain locks. However, the maximum capacity of the vessels was far from having been reached which represented a burden for the profitability of the sector.
  • The forecast of oil prices remains rather uncertain due to current geopolitical circumstances. Oil prices passed the US$100 mark at the beginning of March 2021. Although a reduction is forecast for 2022, no certainty prevails.
  • A special chapter of the report is dedicated to Switzerland, where mineral oil products represent the largest cargo segment in IWW freight transport. The Rhine’s modal share within the Swiss imports of mineral oil products adds up to 24% whereas pipelines have the highest modal share with 36% in 2020.
  • Switzerland accounts for a high share within IWW Passenger Transport. In this sector, the financial turnover of Swiss companies represents 25.1% of all the turnover that is generated in the EU and in Switzerland. Swiss companies are active in river cruising on European rivers, but also in day trip shipping on Swiss lakes and on the Swiss part of the Rhine.

• Goods transport on the Rhine plays an important role for Switzerland. Around 25% of all mineral oil products imported by Switzerland are delivered on the Rhine.
• Passenger transport on European inland waterways is a sector where Switzerland plays an important role in Europe. This is reflected by high figures for employment and turnover, and by a high number of Swiss river cruise and day trip vessels.

 

INLAND WATERWAY FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN SWITZERLAND


 

DEVELOPMENT OF INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT IN THE SWISS RHINE PORTS IN BASEL

  • The largest goods segment within waterside freight transport in the Swiss Rhine ports are mineral oil products, with an average share of 45% in the last ten years. Almost all mineral oil products handled in Basel are imports to Switzerland. The import direction accounted for 98.5% in 2021, 99.0% in 2020 and similarly high shares in previous years.
  •  

    FIGURE 1: YEARLY INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT IN SWISS RHINE PORTS (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: Swiss Rhine ports
     

  • Switzerland relies on several transport modes for importing crude oil and mineral oil products. The Rhine’s modal share within these imports was 24.6% in 2020 and 23.4% within the whole time-period from 2011 to 2020. Pipelines have the highest share with 36.7% in 2020. The reason is that crude oil is entirely imported by pipeline.
  •  

    FIGURE 2: IMPORTS OF CRUDE OIL AND OIL PRODUCTS TO SWITZERLAND BY MODE OF TRANSPORT (IN %)


    Source: CCNR analysis based on Avenergy Suisse
     

  • In differentiating oil products further, it is seen that the Rhine reaches high modal shares for imports of diesel and heating oil.
  •  

    FIGURE 3: MODAL SHARE OF THE RHINE FOR IMPORTS OF CRUDE OIL AND OIL PRODUCTS TO SWITZERLAND BY TYPE OF PRODUCT (IN %)*


    Source: CCNR analysis based on Avenergy Suisse
    * Modal share of Rhine within all modes of transport (Pipeline, Rail, Rhine, Road, Air)

     

  • Around one out of two tonnes of diesel and heating oil that are imported by Switzerland cross the country’s borders on the Rhine. For gasoline, this ratio is one out of four tonnes (Rhine transport/total imports). For crude oil and other oil products, the modal share of the Rhine is low.
  • The port of Basel is also an important place for waterside container handling. Container transport had reached a first peak in 2019, when more than 120,000 TEU were recorded as waterside container transport. The Covid crisis inflicted only a minor loss of 5% for container transport (level in 2020 compared to the level in 2019). In the year 2021, container transport recovered and attained a new record level with 121,046 TEU (+9.8% compared to 2020). The Swiss Rhine ports are investing in further container handling capacities to be able to handle the growing TEU volumes that are foreseen in the future.
  •  

    FIGURE 4: WATERSIDE CONTAINER TRANSPORT IN THE SWISS RHINE PORTS (IN TEU)*


    Source: CCNR analysis based on Swiss Rhine ports
    * Note: for the years 2014-2017, figures were corrected in order to take into account 20,000 TEU transshiped from trucks to railways.

     

FACT SHEET IWT IN SWITZERLAND – ANNUAL FIGURES



Sources: CCNR analysis based on Eurostat data [sbs_na_1a_se_r2], [iww_go_qnave], OECD short time indicators, Danube Commission (fleet data)
 
Notes on the factsheet:
‘Share in EU total’ contains figures for the EU plus Switzerland and Serbia.
#) In contrast with transport performance, for transport volume, a country-specific share cannot be calculated.
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].

• Navigating conditions were more or less normal in the first six months of 2021. In July 2021, the Rhine was subject to floodings. In October and November 2021, both the Rhine and Danube experienced low waters.
• Fuel prices rose due to the steep increase in oil prices. Freight rates increased as well, but the trend was more positive in dry cargo and container transport, compared to liquid bulk transport.

 

  • With regard to port operations, monthly data for waterside goods handling in the largest Upper Rhine ports indicate a small recovery trend that began in the second half of 2020 and continued throughout the year 2021. However, severe low waters in October and November 2021 rather interrupted this recovery.
  •  

    FIGURE 1: WATERSIDE GOODS HANDLING IN MAIN UPPER RHINE PORTS (IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: CCNR analysis based on ports data
     

  • Regarding the hydraulicity aspect, figure 2 shows a scatter plot with data for the available draught at Kaub (x-axis) as well as freight volumes in million tonnes recorded at the lock of Iffezheim (y-axis). The values of available draught were calculated from water levels.2
  • When available draughts fall below a certain threshold, navigation conditions become a bottleneck for freight transport. Examples are the low water period in October and November 2018, but also the more recent period in late 2021 (see left part of figure 2). For draught values above a certain threshold, the scatter plot does not show any relationship, except for the right-hand part of the diagramme, where high water levels tend to decrease freight transport.
  •  

    FIGURE 2: AVAILABLE DRAUGHT AT KAUB AND FREIGHT TRANSPORT PASSING THROUGH THE LOCK OF IFFEZHEIM ON THE UPPER RHINE (MONTHLY DATA M1/2004-M12/2021)


    Source: CCNR calculation based on data from German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV), provided by the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)
     

  • For the Danube, monthly data are available for the lock of Wildungsmauer near Vienna (January 2004 – November 2021). This lock is located in the eastern part of Austria where the country’s highest inland waterway freight transport is observed. A certain relationship between hydraulicity and freight transport can be observed in the scatter plot. Indeed, when the avaible draught is low, it seems that transport volumes are also reduced.
  •  

    FIGURE 3: AVAILABLE DRAUGHT AT WILDUNGSMAUER AND FREIGHT TRANSPORT ON THE DANUBE IN AUSTRIA (MONTHLY DATA M1/2004-M11/2021)


    Source: CCNR analysis based on data from viadonau and Statistics Austria
     

  • For the Danube, the last quarter of 2021 was characterised by very low water levels and available draught values. The cargo losses in late 2021 can be explained by this. This confirms the information given in chapter 1.
  •  

FREIGHT RATES IN THE RHINE REGION3

  • Within ARA-Rhine trade, spot market freight rates for transporting gasoil followed an increasing trend starting in the third quarter of 2021 and reaching a peak in November 2021. This is mainly due to the low water periods in October and November 2021.
  •  

    FIGURE 4: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION FOR GASOIL FROM THE ARA REGION TO RHINE DESTINATIONS (INDEX 2015 = 100)*


    Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International
    * PJK collects freight rates (in Euro per tonne) for ARA-Rhine trade of liquid bulk. The CCNR transforms these values into an index with base year 2015. Lower Rhine: Duisburg, Cologne. Upper Rhine: Karlsruhe, Basel. Main: Frankfurt/M.

     

  • Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects freight rate data from a panel of Dutch IWT companies. These data are observed twice quarterly and include fuel and low water surcharges.
  •  

    FIGURE 5: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION PER QUARTER FOR DUTCH IWT COMPANIES ACCORDING TO MARKET SEGMENT (INDEX 2015 = 100, QUARTERLY DATA)


    Source: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Binnenvaartdiensten; prijsindex)
     

  • Transport prices for dry bulk followed an upward trend starting after the third quarter 2020. Container transport freight rates remained on a positive string from the second quarter of 2020 onwards. For liquid cargo, transport prices remained at a low level with a further decline in the third quarter 2021.
  • Transport demand for liquid products increased in the Netherlands, but not in neighbouring countries. This explains the situation for liquid cargo freight rates for Dutch barging companies, as their operational areas also include other countries.

 
 

FUEL COST EVOLUTION

  • Fuel costs are analysed on the basis of gasoil/diesel prices published by the energy price monitoring system of the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs.4 A comparison with oil prices reveals a very close correlation which serves as a basis for an outlook on fuel prices.
  • In the second half of 2021, oil prices – and therefore also fuel prices – continued to follow an increasing trend. In the fourth quarter of 2021 they stood at US$79,6 (approximately 69.8 Euro as the exchange rate was USD/EUR 1.17).
  •  

    FIGURE 6: AVERAGE FUEL PRICES ACCORDING TO THE BELGIAN MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND BRENT CRUDE OIL PRICES INCLUDING FORECAST*


    Sources: ITB and SPF Economie (fuel price). US Energy Information Administration (oil price). Federal Reserve Economic Data (historical exchange rate US-dollar/Euro). 1 barrel (bbl) = 159 litres.
    * EIA = US Energy Information Administration. The forecast assumes a nominal exchange rate of 1.12 US dollars per Euro throughout 2022 and 2023. The forecast does not consider the impact of the war in Ukraine.

     

  • In its latest short-term outlook of January 2022, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts Brent crude oil spot prices to average around 75 US dollars per barrel in 2022, and around 67.5 US dollars per barrel in 2023. This originates in assumptions of the pandemic and economic uptake as well as on OPEC agreements to curb supply caps up to September 2022.56 Due to political circumstances, they passed the mark of US$100 by the beginning of March 2022. In case of a prolongation of the political conflict in Ukraine, oil and energy prices are expected to rise further on a steep path.
  • Fuel prices in European IWT are impacted by both oil prices and the exchange rate between US dollar and the Euro. The very steep escalation of the US national debt limits any appreciation potential of the US dollar towards the Euro throughout 2022.7 The depreciation of the Euro in relation to the US dollar, starting in May 2021 from 1.22 to 1.13 by December 2021, increased fuel prices in European IWT.8
  • Based on this reasoning, fuel prices in IWT are expected to peak in 2022 and afterwards decline in 2023.

• Transport performance on inland waterways in the EU increased by 4.3% in the first half year of 2021, compared to the same period one year earlier. The recovery was mainly driven by the dry cargo sector.
• Passenger transport started to recover only in the second half of 2021. However, the number of passengers, and therefore the capacity utilisation of the cruise vessels, remained rather low.

 

FREIGHT TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE

    TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN IWT ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY IN EUROPE – COMPARISON BETWEEN Q1+Q2 2020 AND Q1+Q2 2021 (IN MILLION TKM)*


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD (Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Ukraine)
    * For the UK, data were not available.

     

    FIGURE 1: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (IWT) PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE BY REGION AND QUARTER (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD (Ukraine), Destatis (Rhine and affluents)
    * Danube = TKM in all Danube countries including Ukraine

     

  • The transport performance illustrated in figure 1 shows a steady recovery trend for inland waterway freight transport in Europe, starting in Q3 2020. A weakening in this upward trend occurred in Q3 2021, which can be attributed to floodings in the Rhine region. This period of high water was followed by a period of low water in Q4 2021.
  •  

RHINE AND DANUBE NAVIGATION PER CARGO SEGMENT

    FIGURES 2 AND 3: RHINE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR Q1-Q3 OF 2020 AND 2021)



    Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis
     

  • Cargo transport on the traditional Rhine amounted to 126.4 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 118.1 million tonnes in the same period in the previous year. This implies an increase of 7.0%. Dry cargo and container transport recorded higher volumes (+10.4% and +3.7% respectively) while liquid cargo remained rather stable. Coal transport benefited from high gas prices throughout the year 2021. Overall, the demand for dry cargo ship capacity was rather high in the second half of 2021.
  • For the lock of Iffezheim on the Upper Rhine, data were already available for the entire year 2021. They also indicate an uptake in the first nine months (by 6.0%), but a ‘melting down’ of the latter due to low waters in Q4 2021. For the entire year 2021, cargo volumes remained stable at this lock, which can be regarded as a likely indication also for the entire traditional Rhine for 2021.
  •  

    FIGURES 4 AND 5: MIDDLE DANUBE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR THE MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR Q1-Q3 OF 2020 AND 2021)*



    Source: Danube Commission market observation report
    * Detailed data according to goods segment and quarters are only available for the Middle Danube at Mohács.

     

  • On the Danube, iron ore transport also benefited from higher steel production. The increase in the first three quarters of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, amounts to 6.8%. However, looking at monthly figures for iron ore, it is seen that this commodity lost about 18-20% of transport volume in August and September 2021 due to a lower available draught of pushed convoys.
  • The agricultural segment of grain follows a rather volatile transport demand on the Danube in general. Whereas grain transport was boosted by good harvests in 2020, it decreased in 2021. There are two main reasons for this. The primary reason lies in developments on the European grain export market. A secondary reason is the start of the above-mentioned low water period.
  •  
     

PASSENGER TRANSPORT IN EUROPE

  • The Danube, as well as the Rhine and its Moselle, Main, Neckar and Saar affluents, are important operating areas for river cruises in Europe, next to the Seine, Rhône and Douro. The Danube alone accounted for around 40% of the European market in terms of the number of cruise passengers (without rivers in Russia and Ukraine) in 2019. Together with the Rhine and Moselle, Main, Neckar, Saar, this share amounted to around 80-85%.1
  • A statistical measurement point for cruise vessels on the Rhine is the lock of Iffezheim on the Upper Rhine.
  •  

    FIGURE 6: NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS PASSING THE LOCK OF IFFEZHEIM ON THE UPPER RHINE PER HALF YEAR


    Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration
     

    FIGURE 7: NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS PASSING THE LOCK OF IFFEZHEIM ON THE UPPER RHINE PER MONTH


    Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration
     

  • When analysing monthly and half-year figures for 2020 and 2021, it is seen that the ongoing recovery in the cruise sector is concentrated entirely during the period between July and October. The important spring season could not unfold any activity in 2020 and 2021.
  • For the Danube, data are available for the lock of Jochenstein near Passau and the lock of Gabčikovo near Bratislava. The latter is located on the border between Slovakia and Hungary. It is also situated between Vienna and Budapest. Therefore, the passing cruise vessels reflect the cruising activity between two important destinations within the European river cruise sector. Next to Vienna and Budapest, Passau is also an important place where cruise vessels both start and finish their journey.
  •  

    FIGURE 8: NUMBER OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS PASSING THROUGH THE LOCK OF JOCHENSTEIN NEAR PASSAU ON THE UPPER DANUBE PER MONTH


    Source: German Waterway and Shipping Administration
     

  • In 2019, 3,668 cruise vessels passed through the lock of Jochenstein, with a total of 512,458 passengers on board. In 2020, the respective numbers were 324 vessel transits and 25,160 passengers.
  • In 2021, a recovery was seen, with 1,255 cruise vessels and 107,727 passengers.
  • Data for the lock of Gabčikovo show a recovery in the number of passengers for the first three quarters of 2021 compared to 2020, of 77.4%. However, the activity in 2021 still lies at 63.9% below pre-pandemic levels. In total numbers, 98,000 passengers on cruise vessels were counted at this border point in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2021, compared to 55,000 in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2020, and 568,000 passengers in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2019. In the whole year of 2019, 720,800 passengers were counted at Gabčikovo.
  •  
     

TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES

    FIGURE 9: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES (IN MILLION TONNES, QUARTERLY DATA OF TRANSPORT VOLUME ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY)


    Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave]
    Due to a lack of plausibility of Stat.Bel data as from Q1 2018, the data for Belgium from this quarter onwards were recalculated. This was done by applying the rate of change that is present in the more plausible data from the Flemish waterway administration (De Vlaamse Waterweg). The series for Belgium then follows the trend for Flanders, but is located on a higher level. Compared to previous editions, it was decided to add Serbia, due to high IWT volumes in this country in recent times.

 
 

DRY BULK, LIQUID BULK AND CONTAINER TRANSPORT IN MAIN IWT COUNTRIES AND REGIONS

    FIGURE 10: DRY CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



     

    FIGURE 11: LIQUID CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



     

    FIGURE 12: CONTAINER TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



    Sources: Eurostat [IWW_GO_QCNAVE], Destatis. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Service Public de Wallonie, Voies Navigables de France, Romanian Institute of Statistics
    Note: For Belgium-Wallonia, infra-annual container statistics in tonnes are not available. The product group “machines/other goods” was assumed to consist mainly of container transport. The data contain total IWT on the territory of the country/region.
  • Transport performance (TKM) on inland waterways in the EU decreased by 8.1% in the first three quarters of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. In the two largest inland waterways transport (IWT) countries there was a decrease of -11.9% (Germany) and -6.8% (the Netherlands). In the Danube countries, transport performance was 9% lower. Overall, these rates of change were less negative than had been expected in early 2020 when the pandemic broke out.
  • For the Rhine, a decrease of 11% is observed. The differentiation of transport demand by type of cargo reveals the following: In the first three quarters of 2020, dry cargo transport on the Rhine decreased by 13%, liquid cargo transport by 7% and container transport by 5%. The transport demand related to the steel industry represents 25% of total Rhine transport and suffered heavily from the pandemic, which explains the sharp decrease in dry cargo transport. In the Netherlands, the reduction was 6% for dry cargo transport, 3% for liquid cargo transport, while container transport increased by 2%. Container transport also recorded higher levels in Belgium, compared to the first three quarters of 2019.
  • For passenger transport, the initial loss estimations were confirmed by the developments in 2020. As expected in early 2020, the activity in passenger transport collapsed almost entirely in 2020. A reduction of 90-95% in the number of passengers is observed for river cruising.
  • With the drop in oil prices due to the pandemic, fuel prices (gasoil/diesel) fell by 32% between Q1 2020 and Q2 2020. Between Q2 and Q3 they rose again (by 17%), in parallel with the partial reopening of the European economies. Between Q3 and Q4, fuel prices dropped by 3%. In 2021, fuel prices in IWT are expected to increase by 5-7%, in parallel with oil prices, for which different forecasts point to a limited uptake.
  • Other costs in inland navigation are expected to increase to a limited extent in 2021, with the only exception being capital costs, where a reduction of interest rates and insurance values of ships should lead to a decrease.
  • A special chapter of the report is dedicated to France, where sands, stones and building materials represent the largest cargo segment. Its transport performance follows a positive trend. The segment was affected by the Covid-19 crisis in March and April 2020, but transport performance recovered in the course of May and June back to pre-crisis levels. Agricultural products are the second largest cargo segment in France and its transport demand is closely associated with harvest results. After a good harvest season in 2019, the 2020 season was somewhat weak, which will have a negative effect on the transport of grain in 2021.

• In France, the cargo segment of sands, stones and building materials is the largest segment in IWT. Its transport performance follows a positive trend. The segment was affected by the Covid crisis in March and April, but transport performance recovered until June to pre-crisis levels.
• Agricultural products are the second largest cargo segment in France. Its transport demand is closely linked with harvest results. After a good harvest season in 2019, the 2020 season was quite weak, which will affect transport of grain in 2021.

 
 

INLAND WATERWAY TRAFFIC IN FRENCH PORTS


    Sources : Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire, Voies Navigables de France

 

FACT SHEET IWT IN FRANCE – ANNUAL FIGURES


     

    Notes on the factsheet: ‘Share in EU total’ contains figures for the EU plus Switzerland and Serbia.
    In contrast to transport performance, for transport volume, a country-specific share cannot be calculated.
    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].

     
     

IWW FREIGHT TRANSPORT IN FRANCE FOR THE TWO LARGEST CARGO SEGMENTS

  • The Covid-19 pandemic had a V-shaped impact on the transport performance for sands, stones and gravel. The trough of this downturn was in April 2020. During the month of May, a recovery set in, which was completed in June 2020. The positive long-run trend reflects several influencing factors (demographic growth in France, rise in construction output). Short-run factors relate to individual one-off construction projects. The Olympic Games 2024 in Paris are an important example. From May until the end of October 2020, 125,000 tonnes of excavated material for the Olympic Village was transported on the river Seine (Source: Journal NPI, 01/2021, « Une dynamique dans différentes métropoles »).
  •  

    FIGURE 1: TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR SANDS, STONES, BUILDING MATERIALS IN IWT IN FRANCE (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire, Données et études statistiques, CCNR calculation
     

  • For agricultural and food products, the positive trend since 2017 is mainly explained by the development of harvest results (In France, inland waterway transport of agricultural products is closely correlated with harvest results. See: EU/CCNR (2018), Inland Navigation in Europe – Annual Market Observation Report, Chapter 9). According to Eurostat data (Eurostat series [APRO_CPSH1], Cereals for grain production (including seed production), (C0000)), grain harvest in France amounted to 71.8 million tonnes in 2015, but dropped to 53.6 million tonnes in 2016. In the years 2017-2019, volumes recovered and reached 70.4 million tonnes in 2019. In 2020, however, grain harvest in France was only 56.7 million tonnes. A dampening of the positive trend can therefore be expected for 2021.
  • In the river-sea-port of Rouen, which is among the three largest ports in Europe for the export of cereals, the modal split share of IWT, for grain coming from the hinterland to the port, rose slightly in recent years. It reached 32% in 2020, according to information from the logistics company which exploits the terminals.
  •  

    FIGURE 2: TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD PRODUCTS IN IWT IN FRANCE (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire, Données et études statistiques, CCNR calculation

• The year 2020 offered rather positive navigation conditions on the Rhine. At Kaub (Middle Rhine), the available draught was at least 1.90 m or higher on 87.3% of all days per year, compared to 98.3% in 2019 and only 63.5% in 2018.
• Fuel prices (gasoil/diesel) fell by 32 % between Q1 2020 and Q2 2020. Between Q2 and Q3 they rose again (by 17%) but dropped by 3 % between Q3 and Q4.
• For 2021, fuel prices are expected to experience a limited increase by 5-7%, based on oil price forecasts.

 
 

IMPACT OF WATER LEVEL CONDITIONS

  • The Waterway and Shipping Administration endeavours to achieve a minimum navigation channel depth for each gauge station, also under critical low water conditions. This minimum depth is represented by the vertical distance below a critical low water level. The critical low water level is known as equivalent water level. It is normally exceeded on at least 95% of all days per year. The following table shows these parameters, which are specific for each gauge station, for Kaub (Middle Rhine) and Duisburg-Ruhrort (Lower Rhine).
  •  

    TABLE 1: NAVIGATIONAL PARAMETERS FOR IMPORTANT RHINE GAUGE STATIONS

    Gauge stationAreaEquivalent water level (EWL)Minimum navigation channel depth under the EWLUnder keel clearance
    Duisburg-RuhrortLower Rhine233 cm280 cm27 cm
    KaubMiddle Rhine78 cm190 cm32 cm

    Source: German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration
     

  • The available draught for a vessel at a certain gauge station is calculated with the formula (Regarding the formula, see: SVS Aktuell, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019, pages 7 and 8, available at: http://www.svs-ch.ch/sites/default/files/svs-aktuell/winter_2018.pdf):
    possible or available draught = minimum navigation channel depth + (actual water level – equivalent water level) – under keel clearance.
  • If the actual water level equals the equivalent water level (indicating that the water level is very low), the difference (actual water level – equivalent water level) will be zero. In this case, the possible draught of a vessel should still be equal to the minimum channel depth minus the under-keel clearance (see formula and drawing).
  •  

    FIGURE 1: ACTUAL WATER LEVEL, ACTUAL DRAUGHT, EQUIVALENT WATER LEVEL, MINIMUM NAVIGATION CHANNEL DEPTH AND POSSIBLE OR AVAILABLE DRAUGHT AT KAUB/ MIDDLE RHIN *


    Source: CCNR based on German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG, 2015)
    * The distances in this drawing are not at scale.
    In this illustration, the date chosen to determine the available or possible draught is 3 September 2020, when the actual water level was 239 cm on average).

     

  • For the following figures, daily water level data for Kaub and Ruhrort were collected in order to verify to which extent the minimum navigation channel depth was actually achieved (at which percentage of all days per year).
  •  

    FIGURE 2: AVAILABILITY OF DRAUGHT VALUES FOR THE MIDDLE RHINE AT KAUB (IN %)


    Sources: CCNR calculation based on data from the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, provided by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG).
     

  • The minimum navigation channel depth of 1.90 m was achieved at Kaub:
    – In 2018: on 63.5% of all days per year
    – In 2019: on 98.3% of all days per year
    – In 2020: on 87.3% of all days per year
  • The fact that the ‘achievement rate’ in 2018 and 2020 was lower than the target rate of 95% reflects the occurrence of strong low water periods in both years.
  • Duisburg-Ruhrort at the Lower Rhine offers higher water levels, channel depths and possible draughts in general, due to different morphological characteristics of the Rhine at this point. This is reflected by a higher target depth (2.80 m), but it was only in 2019 that this target could be reached at a rate of at least 95%.
  •  

    FIGURE 3: AVAILABILITY OF DRAUGHT VALUES FOR THE LOWER RHINE AT DUISBURG-RUHRORT (IN %)


    Sources: CCNR calculation based on data from the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, provided by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG).
     

  • Equivalent calculations can be carried out for the Danube. Two gauge stations on the Upper Danube in Austria are considered: Kienstock (122 km east of Linz and 90 km west of Vienna) and Wildungsmauer (250 km east of Linz and 38 km east of Vienna). The target depth for both stations is 2.50 m. The results of the data analysis show that Kienstock offered better navigational conditions than Wildungsmauer in 2018-2020.
  •  

    TABLE 2: NAVIGATIONAL PARAMETERS FOR IMPORTANT UPPER DANUBE GAUGE STATIONS

    Gauge stationAreaEquivalent water level (EWL)Minimum navigation channel depth under the EWLUnder keel clearance
    KienstockUpper Danube164 cm250 cm40 cm
    WildungsmauerUpper Danube162 cm250 cm40 cm

    Source: Via Donau and Federal State of Lower Austria
     

    FIGURE 4: AVAILABILITY OF DRAUGHT VALUES FOR THE UPPER DANUBE AT KIENSTOCK (IN %)


     

    FIGURE 5: AVAILABILITY OF DRAUGHT VALUES FOR THE UPPER DANUBE AT WILDUNGSMAUER (IN %)


    Source: CCNR calculation based on data from the Federal State of Lower Austria (https://www.noel.gv.at/wasserstand/#/de/Messstellen/Map/Wasserstand)
     
     

FREIGHT RATES IN THE RHINE REGION

  • Until October, gasoil and gasoline spot market freight rates on the Rhine remained rather low. In particular, full tanks and limited downstream refining activities – especially for motor fuels due to “lockdowns” – caused a significant drop of transport activity. Towards November and December 2020, higher seasonal demand for liquid cargo pushed freight rates up and this was supported by rapidly falling water levels.
  • In October, November and December 2020, gasoil freight rates were much lower than in the same months one year earlier. For the Lower Rhine, the average difference in Q4 2020 compared to Q4 2019 was -31%, and for the Upper Rhine even -33% and -29% for the Main. The percentage differences for gasoline were of the same order (-29%, -32%, -28%) (The figure for gasoline freight rates is not shown in the report, as it appears very similar to the graph for gasoil freight rates).
  •  

    FIGURE 6: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION FOR GASOIL FROM THE ARA REGION TO RHINE DESTINATIONS (INDEX 2015 = 100)


    Source: CCNR calculation based on PJK International
    * PJK collects freight rates (in Euro per tonne) for ARA-Rhine trade of liquid bulk. The CCNR transforms these values into an index with base year 2015. Lower Rhine: Duisburg, Cologne. Upper Rhine: Karlsruhe, Basel. Main: Frankfurt/M.

     

  • While the freight rates presented in the above figure relate to spot market rates for ARA-Rhine traffic, the IWT market also experiences more long-term transport prices, which are quite frequently observed in the market segments of chemicals and container transport. Such data are collected by the statistical office of the Netherlands (CBS) from a panel of Dutch IWT companies, together with spot market rates. The prices of established routes within the panel are observed twice a quarter and include fuel and low water surcharges.
  • Regarding the overall development of these data, a smaller ‘low water elasticity’ – or reactivity of transport prices toward low waters – is present (This can be verified by taking quarterly averages of the monthly ARA-Rhine index and comparing them with the quarterly index data from CBS. The average of the spot market rates for the ARA-Rhine index was around 300 in Q4 2018, while the highest value in the CBS index in this quarter was around 200). This is explained by the fact that the sailing regions of the barging companies in this CBS panel contain also regions other than the Rhine itself. In parts of the Netherlands, water level fluctuations are less pronounced than on the Rhine in Germany.
  •  

    FIGURE 7: FREIGHT RATE EVOLUTION PER QUARTER FOR DUTCH IWT COMPANIES ACCORDING TO MARKET SEGMENT (INDEX 2015 = 100)


    Source: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Binnenvaartdiensten; prijsindex)
     

  • For Q3 2020, the data show a decline of 12% of the overall index, compared to Q3 2019. The decrease was strongest for liquid bulk (-18%), although this was still a smaller decrease than the one observed for ARA-Rhine trade (see figures above). A different regional scope of the CBS index, as explained above, can be regarded as the underlaying cause. In Q1 2020 and Q2 2020, the drop of the liquid bulk index was only 7%.
  • In the first half year 2020, the strongest fall of the index can be observed for dry bulk spot market freight rates. The drop was thus -17% in Q1 2020 and -14% in Q2 2020 (compared to Q1 2019 and Q2 2019 respectively). In Q3 2020, dry bulk spot market rates fell by 10%.

 
 

COST EVOLUTION

    FUEL COSTS

  • Fuel costs are analysed on the basis of gasoil/diesel prices published by the energy price monitoring system of the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs (The data are received from ITB in Belgium. The prices are maximum prices and valid for a purchase volume of at least 2.000 litres of gasoil.). A comparison with oil prices reveals a very close correlation which serves as a basis for an outlook on fuel prices.
  • In the course of 2020, positive news about vaccines and their approaching availability brought oil prices back to higher levels. In December 2020, the Brent Spot market price once more reached a level of 50 US-dollars per barrel (= 41.1 euro, as the exchange rate USD/EUR was 1.217).
  •  

    FIGURE 8: AVERAGE FUEL PRICES ACCORDING TO THE BELGIAN MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND BRENT CRUDE OIL PRICES INCLUDING FORECAST *


    Sources: ITB and SPF Economie (fuel price). US Energy Information Administration (oil price). Federal Reserve Economic Data (historical exchange rate US-dollar/euro). 1 barrel (bbl) = 159 litres
    * IMF = International Monetary Fund; EIA = US Energy Information Administration. The forecast assumes a nominal exchange rate of 1.22 US-$ per euro throughout 2021 and 2022.

     

  • Fuel prices in European IWT are not only influenced by oil prices but also by the exchange rate between US-dollar and euro. The depreciation of the US-dollar towards the euro, which started in March 2020, continued throughout the year 2020. This dampened fuel prices in European IWT (In December 2020, the exchange rate was 1.217 US-dollar per euro, compared to 1.126 US-dollar per euro in June 2020, and 1.110 US-dollar per euro in January 2020).
  • Arguments for a further depreciation of the dollar are put forward by some organisations, which see the US twin deficits as a striking argument for a further devaluation of the dollar (QCAM Monthly. 2021. Available at: (https://q-cam.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/QCAM-MONTHLY-February-2021.pdf) Last consulted 5.02.2021). Other observers (including OECD) put forward the very small interest differential between the two currency zones and therefore foresee a constant exchange rate in 2021 and 2022 (Raiffeisen Währungsupdate 2021. Available at: https://www.raiffeisen.ch/content/dam/www/rch/pdf/publikationen/waehrungsupdate/de/2021/waehrungsupdate-01-2021.pdf Last consulted 5.02.2021)(OECD. Nominal exchange rates against US dollar, average of daily rates. 2021. Available at: https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=51653# Last consulted 5.02.2021). For the present forecast, an exchange rate USD/EUR of 1.22 is assumed for the forecast horizon (2021 and 2022).
  • Regarding oil prices, in its latest short-term outlook from January 2021, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts Brent crude oil spot prices to average around 52.7 US-dollars per barrel in 2021, and around 53.4 US-dollars per barrel in 2022, compared with an average of 41.8 US-dollars in 2020 (Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/. These values are transformed to values in euro and depicted in the figure. The assumed exchange rate for this transformation is 1.22 US-dollar per euro). The IMF oil price outlook points to similar values.
  • Based on the data and the reasoning explained, an increase in fuel costs of 7.2% is expected for 2021. This is slightly higher than the forecast within the Panteia cost monitoring (+4.7% in 2021).
  •  
    CAPITAL COSTS

  • Capital costs are dependent upon interest rates for long-term loans and the insured values of vessels. Interest rates decreased in 2020, as – in the wake of the economic crisis in the last years – short-term interest rates were consequently cut by the European Central Bank. In the medium and long term, lower short-term interest rates are passed on to lower long-term interest rates.
  • The development of interest rates in the recently published Panteia cost report (Source: Panteia (2021), Kostenontwikkeling binnenvaart 2020 en raming 2021, edited in January 2021) shows a decline over the last years. For 2021, capital costs are expected to decrease further, as interest rates will be kept very low, and insurance values of ships will decrease due to the crisis in the inland waterway transport sector. It should be noted that available interest rates do not include individual risk premiums, that could be added on top of the interest rates by banks, in order to cover higher individual risks of companies.
  •  
    LABOUR COSTS

  • An analysis of labour costs was carried out in the Panteia cost report, published in January 2021. Due to a deviation of actual wages from official wages, interviews amongst IWT companies were necessary. According to these interviews, labour costs increased in 2020 by 2.8% compared to 2019. Other sources used for the labour costs assessment were official salary tables published by the ‘Centraal Bureau voor de Rijn- en Binnenvaart’ (CBRB) in the Netherlands. For 2021, labour costs are assumed to increase further, as the Covid-19 crisis leads to higher burdens for manning vessels.
  •  
    INSURANCE COSTS

  • In 2020, insurance companies have increased insurance premiums by 3.3%. As the value of the insured vessels dropped by 0.4%, insurance costs increased by 2.9%. For 2021, insurance premiums are expected to continue their increase by 2.9%. A limited drop in the values of vessels by 0.4% will again lead to higher insurance costs for companies. The sources of these estimations are consultations with insurance companies and barging companies.
  •  
    REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE COSTS

  • On the basis of interviews with a panel of inland barging entrepreneurs, it is estimated that these types of costs increased in 2020 by 2.3% and will increase in 2021 by 2.0%.
  •  

    TABLE 3: DEVELOPMENT OF COSTS IN INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (2020/2019) AND OUTLOOK FOR 2021

    Cost componentIndex 2020 (2019=100)Index 2021 (2020=100)
    Labour costs102.8102.3
    Capital costs
    - interest rates92.396.0
    - insured value of vessel99.699.6
    Fuel costs83.3104.7
    Repair and maintenance102.3102.0
    Insurance costs102.9102.4
    Other costs101.2101.3

    Source: Panteia (2021)
     
    SHARE OF LABOUR COSTS IN TOTAL COSTS AND IN TURNOVER

  • According to data from the statistical office of the Netherlands (CBS), the share of personnel costs within total costs in the Dutch IWT sector (freight and passenger transport) was 18.0% in 2018, 21.8% in 2017, and 23.0% in 2016. In the years 2009-2015, the share was 22.0% on average.
  • The share of personnel costs within net turnover was 15.3% in 2018, 18.3% in 2017 and 18.7% in 2016. In the years 2009-2015, the share was 18.8% on average.

• Transport performance (TKM) on inland waterways in the EU decreased by 8.1% in the first three quarters of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.
• In the two largest IWT countries the decrease was -11.9% (Germany) and -6.8% (the Netherlands). In Danube countries, transport performance was 9% lower.
• Passenger transport (river cruises) recorded a reduction of passengers by 90-95%.

 
 

TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE

    TRANSPORT PERFORMANCE IN IWT ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY IN EUROPE – COMPARISON BETWEEN Q1-Q3 2019 AND Q1-Q3 2020 (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], OECD (Switzerland)
     

    FIGURE 1: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (IWT) PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE BY REGION (IN MILLION TKM)


    Sources: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave], Destatis
    * Danube = TKM in all Danube countries

     

  • Cargo related to steel production accounts for 25% of total Rhine transport. The decrease of steel production (Steel production in Germany amounted to 43.3 mio. tonnes in 2017, 42.4 million tonnes in 2018, 39.6 mio. tonnes in 2019 and 36.0 mio. tonnes in 2020. Source: World Steel Association and German ‘Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl’) due to a slowdown of the world economy in 2018-2019 and the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 resulted in less iron ore, coking coal and metal transport. This produces a considerable ‘downward momentum’ for the trend on the Rhine as well as on Dutch and German waterways. Coal that is used for energy generation (steam coal) accounts for 7%. By 2029, almost the entirety of steam coal transport will be phased out, due to the closure of coal fired power plants in Germany. For the Danube, a growth-orientated trend can be observed, which rests on a growing transport activity for agricultural products.
  •  
    RHINE AND AFFLUENTS

    FIGURES 2 AND 3: RHINE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR THE FIRST NINE MONTHS OF 2019 AND 2020)



    Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis
     

  • Cargo transport on the traditional Rhine was 11% lower in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Within upstream transport, the figures show a decrease in the two-digit range for iron ore (-21%) and chemicals (-14%). Losses in both segments were due to a reduction in industry production. The upstream transport of petroleum products fell by 12% due to lockdowns and the related drop in demand for liquid fuels (gasoline, gasoil, kerosene, etc.). The reduction in coal transport (-30%) was partly caused by less steel production and partly by energy transition.
  • Downstream transport of sands, stones, gravel and building materials was reduced by 10%. Grain transport, with its relatively small share in total Rhine transport, increased its volume by 3%.
  •  

    FIGURE 4: TRANSPORT VOLUME ON RHINE AFFLUENTS


    Source: CCNR analysis based on Destatis
     

  • Cargo transport on the Main amounted to 11.7 million tonnes in Q1-Q3 2020 (-9% compared to Q1-Q3 2019). The overall trend on the Main fluctuates at around 4 million tonnes of cargo per quarter. Liquid cargo, foodstuffs, sands, stones and gravel are core segments in Main navigation.
  • The phasing out of coal weighs heavily on Moselle traffic and is the main reason for a decreasing trend.
  •  
    DANUBE

  • Between the Rhine and Danube, parallels emerge with respect to the development of industrial and non-industrial goods. Iron ore (-25%), coal (-30%) and metals (-17%) suffered with less production of steel.
  • For all cargo related to the agricultural sector, an increase was observed. The strength of this increase was most clearly visible for grain, where transport volumes more than tripled, and for food products and foodstuffs, where volumes more than doubled. Fertilizers registered more upstream (+17%) as well as more downstream (+50%) transport.
  • These data refer to the measurement point of Mohacs on the Middle Danube in southern Hungary, near the border with Croatia and Serbia. In total, 4.648 million tonnes of cargo crossed this border point in the first nine months of 2020. This was an increase of 7% compared to the same time period in 2019.
  •  

    FIGURES 5 AND 6: MIDDLE DANUBE TRANSPORT VOLUME UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM FOR THE MAJOR CARGO SEGMENTS (IN MILLION TONNES, FOR THE FIRST NINE MONTHS OF 2020 AND 2019)*



    Source: Danube Commission Market Observation report
    * On the Middle Danube at Mohacs

     

  • Cargo transport on the Upper Danube in Germany, Austria and Slovakia decreased by 27% at the Austrian-German border and by 15% at the Slovakian-Hungarian border. The Lower Danube region (Romania, Bulgaria), which is presented by figures for the Danube-Black Sea Canal, lost only 5% in the first nine months. The Danube-Black Sea-Canal is the waterway connection between the port of Constanţa and the Black Sea.
  •  

    FIGURE 7: CARGO TRANSPORT ON THE DANUBE PER RIVER STRETCH *


    Source: Danube Commission Market Observation reports
    * DE/AT = German-Austrian border; SK/HU = Slovakian-Hungarian border; HU/CRO/SRB = border between Hungary. Croatia and Serbia (Mohacs)

 
 

PASSENGER TRANSPORT

  • Passenger transport on cruise ships on the Danube (At the time of writing, quarterly data on passenger transport were only available for the Danube) had reached record levels in 2019 but was interrupted completely in March 2020. Only in June did isolated trips resume both on the Upper and the Middle Danube. This revival took place on a very limited basis, in compliance with the restrictions on the number of passengers per voyage.
  • Passenger transport on day trip vessels – both regular liner services as well as non-scheduled excursion vessels – in the main tourist centres took place on a limited basis.
  •  

    FIGURE 8: PASSENGER TRANSPORT (RIVER CRUISE VESSELS) ON THE UPPER DANUBE (IN 1,000 PASSENGERS) *



    Source: Danube Commission Market Observation reports
    * Upper Danube = lock of Gabčikovo (border between Hungary and Slovakia)

     

    FIGURE 9: PASSENGER TRANSPORT (RIVER CRUISE VESSELS) ON THE MIDDLE DANUBE (IN 1,000 PASSENGERS)*



    Source: Danube Commission Market Observation reports
    * Middle Danube = measurement point of Mohacs in Hungary (border region with Croatia and Serbia). Figures indicate downstream traffic of passengers (in the direction of the Black Sea).

 
 

TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES

    FIGURE 10: INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT VOLUME IN MAIN EUROPEAN IWT COUNTRIES (QUARTERLY DATA OF TRANSPORT VOLUME ON THE NATIONAL TERRITORY OF EACH COUNTRY – IN MILLION TONNES)


    Source: Eurostat [iww_go_qnave]
    Due to a lack of plausibility of Stat.Bel data from Q1 2018 onwards, the data for Belgium from this quarter onwards were recalculated. This was done by applying the rate of change that is present in the more plausible data from the Flemish waterway administration (De Vlaamse Waterweg). The series for Belgium then follows the trend for Flanders, but is located on a higher level.

 
 

DRY BULK, LIQUID BULK AND CONTAINER TRANSPORT

    FIGURE 11: DRY CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



     

    FIGURE 12: LIQUID CARGO TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



     

    FIGURE 13: CONTAINER TRANSPORT (IN MILLION TONNES)



    Sources: Eurostat [IWW_GO_QCNAVE], Destatis. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, De Vlaamse Waterweg, SPW Service Public de Wallonie, Voies Navigables de France, Romanian Institute of Statistics
    Note: for Belgium-Wallonia, infra-annual container statistics in tonnes are not available. The product group “machines/other goods” was assumed to consist mainly of container transport. The data contain total IWT on the territory of the country/region.
  • Transport performance on inland waterways in the European Union amounted to 111.2 billion tonne-kilometres (TKM) in the first three quarters of 2019. Rhine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland) reaching 91.3 billion TKM, accounted for a share of 82%, compared to 84% over the same period in 2018. Although Rhine countries’ transport performance increased by 2.5% compared to 2018, their share in EU transport performance fell slightly, in light of the stronger growth of transport performance in Danube countries.
  • Transport performance in Danube countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia) went up by 18.4% to reach a value of 19.8 billion TKM. Their share in EU transport performance increased from 16 % to 18 %. The recovery from low water periods was one major reason for the increase, but a country-by-country analysis also reveals other influencing factors.
  • On a multi-annual basis, a positive trend can be observed for Bulgaria and Romania. The positive multi-annual trend is in particular apparent for iron ores, and is confirmed by data from the World Steel Association, which shows that steel production in Romania was 20% higher in 2018 than in 2013.
  • In Rhine countries, the dry cargo segment lost cargo volumes, due to the phasing out of coal in the energy sector, the weakening of automobile and steel production in western Europe, and a decrease in the transport of sands, stones, and building materials in the Netherlands. All of these evolutions are linked with energy transition and the political aim to reduce emissions. That is why inland navigation in western Europe is faced with a challenge of transforming its goods portfolio.
  • A positive evolution in 2019 in the Rhine basin was the recovery of water levels from their low points in late 2018. Nevertheless, container transport on the Rhine and in Germany did not reach the levels they had seen in the first half of 2018. A macroeconomic weakening of German exports and imports and a loss of market shares can be regarded as the main reasons.
  • The “focus-on” chapter presents key figures for Hungary, a middle Danube country, where iron ores, agricultural products, and metal products are the three largest goods segments. Data on cross-border traffic for Hungary show that exports to Germany and imports from Romania are the two most important export/import flows in Hungarian IWT. The exports to Germany mainly contain oil seeds, forage plants, and related materials.
  • Although this market insight covers the first three quarters of 2019 and was completed in March 2020, some remarks regarding the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Europe must be made. On the one hand, inland waterway transport is necessary to maintain the provision of the economy and society with important raw materials and products, such as agricultural and food products, mineral oil products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.
  • On the other hand, the transport of goods is hit from the demand side. Many industries are strongly reducing their activity, with negative effects on IWT. For passenger transport, the effects will be much stronger. In mid-March, most of the river cruises were cancelled or postponed until at least May 2020.
  • The Kiel Institute for the World Economy has developed two main scenarios for the impact of the crisis on the economy. A scenario with a recovery from mid-2020 onwards, and another scenario with a recovery only from the beginning of 2021 onwards. If we apply the underlying quantitative assumptions of the scenarios on the whole European inland navigation sector (goods and passenger transport together), the total financial loss due to this crisis could amount to 2.2 billion Euro in 2020 (first scenario), or to 4.4 billion Euro in 2020 (second scenario). It must be emphasized that the possible outcomes described above are scenarios, not predictions. The exact losses for the inland navigation sector are strongly dependent upon the duration of the crisis, which currently cannot be predicted.

• The “focus-on” chapter presents key figures for Hungary, a middle Danube country, where iron ores, agricultural products, and metal products are the three largest goods segments.
• Waterside ports traffic in Hungarian ports reached 6.06 million tonnes in 2019, an increase of 16.6% compared to 2018.
• Data on cross-border traffic for Hungary show that exports to Germany and imports from Romania are the two most important export/import flows in Hungarian IWT. The exports to Germany mainly consist of oil seeds, forage plants, and related materials.

 

HUNGARIAN INLAND PORTS’ WATERSIDE TRAFFIC

*In Budapest there are two ports, one is public, one is private.

TABLE 1: WATERSIDE PORTS TRAFFIC IN DANUBE COUNTRIES (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2019 COMPARED TO (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2018

CountryWaterside transport in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2019 in 1000 tRate of increase compared to (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2018
Romanian ports21,724+17.8%
Serbian ports7,221+28.8%
Austrian ports5,497+30.6%
Hungarian ports4,785+10.7%
Ukrainian ports4,332-9.0%
German ports2,791+9.5%
Slovakian ports1,295+6.2%
Moldavian ports948-

Source: Danube Commission (market observation report for the first nine months of 2019)
German ports are the Danube ports in Germany. For Moldavian ports, no data for the rate of change exist.

TABLE 2: WATERSIDE PORTS TRAFFIC IN HUNGARY 2017-2019 (IN TONNES)

PeriodBaja National Public PortCsepel National Public PortGyőr-Gönyű National Public PortPorts of DunaújvárosPorts of KomáromPorts of MohácsOther Hungarian inland portsTotal
2017644,3041,122411167,431841,980237,704225,0882,559,9265,798,845
2018346,749918,209105,6471,044,702315,972189,0792,279,2285,199,586
2019505,1381,129,625225,4201,390,978262,244266,8192,284,0876,064,312

Source: Hungarian Statistical Office

FIGURE 1: IWT ON THE HUNGARIAN DANUBE BY GOODS SEGMENT (IN 1000 T)


Source: Hungarian Statistical Office, https://www.ksh.hu/stadat_infra_4_6

  • According to the Danube Commission, the Hungarian steel plant of Dunaújváros, near Budapest, uses barge traffic for parts of its iron ore provisions. The main Hungarian refinery is located near Budapest and belongs to the MOL Group. This group operates three of its own ports from which depots and customers in the Danube region are supplied by barge, rail and truck, while the crude oil for the refinery comes by pipeline from Russia (See: https://molgroup.info/en/our-business/downstream/logistics).
  • The following table shows the most important IWW transport relations between Hungary and foreign countries. Around half of all goods loaded in Hungary and sent to Germany arrive on the German Danube stretch, and the other half goes further to the west, to Main, Main-Danube Canal and Rhine.

 

TABLE 3: MAIN IWW IMPORT AND EXPORT DESTINATIONS BETWEEN HUNGARY AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES (Q1+Q2+Q3 2019)

Transport relationMillion tonnes
Loaded in Hungary → unloaded in Germany0.724
Loaded in Romania → unloaded in Hungary0.647
Loaded in Austria → unloaded in Hungary0.594
Loaded in Hungary → unloaded in Romania0.560
Loaded in Hungary → unloaded in Austria0.540
Loaded in Serbia → unloaded in Hungary0.387
Loaded in Hungary → unloaded in Serbia0.278

Source: Hungarian Statistical Office, series 4.6.13
The volumes in the table represent 87% of all international freight traffic in Hungarian IWT.

  • In considering the river Main as one major entrance channel between the Danube and the Rhine region, the following can be observed: in the first nine months of 2019, 0.47 million tonnes of goods were transported on the Main, with Hungary as country of loading; of this volume, 85% was unloaded in Germany, 11% in the Netherlands, 3% in Belgium, 1% in France; and within the volume unloaded in Germany, 94%, or 0.37 million tonnes, was made up of oil seeds, forage plants, and related materials (Source: CCNR calculation based on detailed data provided by Destatis).

 

FACT SHEET IWT IN HUNGARY – ANNUAL FIGURES

 

 


Notes on the factsheet: 1) “Share in EU total” contains figures for the EU plus Switzerland and Serbia. 2) For container transport, Eurostat publishes no data for Hungary. # In contrast to transport performance, for transport volume, a country-specific share cannot be calculated.
The modal split indicator is defined as the percentage of inland waterway transport in total freight transport performance measured in tonne-kilometres. Inland freight transport modes include road, rail and inland waterways. Road transport takes into account the TKM made by trucks registered in foreign countries on Hungarian territory, according to the new Eurostat methodology in the series [tran_hv_frmod].

 

PASSENGER TRANSPORT: RIVER CRUISE TRAFFIC ON THE HUNGARIAN DANUBE

FIGURES 2 AND 3: TRAFFIC NUMBERS OF RIVER CRUISE VESSELS ON THE DANUBE (NUMBER OF VESSELS) PER MONTH IN 2018 AND 2019

     
Source: Danube Commission (market observation report for the first nine months of 2019)
Values from 1 to 12 on the x-axis are over 12 months.

  • The traffic of river cruise vessels on the Hungarian Danube increased in the first nine months of 2019: in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2019, 4012 cabin vessels passed the lock of Gabčíkovo on the northern border of Hungary (border with Slovakia). This meant an increase of 835 of vessel transits (+26%) compared to the same period in 2018.
  • At the border point of Mohacs in southern Hungary (border between Croatia and Serbia), the number of vessel transits was also higher in Q1-Q3 2019 (891 vessels) than in (Q1+Q2+Q3) 2018 (682 vessels), representing an increase by 209 transits or 31%.
  • The different traffic intensity between northern and southern Hungary is due to the high number of Danube cruises that leave from Passau or go from Vienna to Budapest (and back), and therefore pass the lock of Gabčíkovo in the north, but not the border point of Mohacs in the south.
  • There is a tendency for new river cruise vessels with the following dimensions to enter the Danube market: length of 135 m, width of 11.4 m and a maximum draught of 1.8 m. These vessels are well equipped from a nautical point of view to sail on the Danube.