Inland waterway transport statistics
From Statistics Explained
- Data from December 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article presents inland waterways goods transport in the European Union (EU) and other countries connected to the EU inland waterways network. It focuses on the main products transported, based on annual data for 2012 and comparisons with previous years.
In 2012, the total volume of goods transported on European inland waterways was 526 million tonnes, a slight decrease of 0.2 % on the year before. However, the total transport performed reached 149 billion tonnes-kilometres (Tkm), up 5 % from the previous year, reflecting an increase in the distances performed. The main product categories transported by inland waterways were ‘Metal ores and mining products’ and ‘Coke and refined petroleum products’. The key countries in European inland waterways transport are the Netherlands and Germany.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
Main statistical findings
“Metal ores and mining products” together with “Coke and refined petroleum products” were the main product categories transported in 2012
Metal ores and mining and quarrying products (NST2007 division “03”) was the main product category transported on EU inland waterways in 2012, both in terms of tonnes-kilometres (Tkm) (Table 1) and in terms of tonnes (Table 2). This product category accounted for 24 % of the Tkm performed in total for all products and 32 % of total tonnes transported. A decline was recorded in 2012 compared to 2011 (-2.5 % for Tkm and -6 % for tonnes), probably reflecting the difficult market situation of the steel industry. Looking at the different types of transport in detail, national and transit transport decreased substantially in Tkm (-7 % and -5 % respectively), slightly offset by an increase of 1 % for international transport. However, in terms of tonnes transported the situation looks different, as international transport also decreased. These opposite trends reflect a rise in 2012 in the distances over which the goods in this product category were transported.
Coke and refined petroleum products (NST2007 division “07”) was the second most important product category transported on EU inland waterways in 2012, representing 16 % of total products transported both in terms of Tkm and tonnes. Contrary to total transport performance, transport of coke and refined petroleum products increased compared to 2011 (+ 7 % for Tkm and +4 % for tonnes). This growth is observed for all types of transport: national, international and transit.
For both of these most important product categories for EU inland waterways transport, national transport represented the largest share in terms of tonnes (57 % for ‘Metal ores and mining and quarrying products’ and 54 % for ‘Coke and refined petroleum products’). The situation is reversed when looking at Tkm, where international transport accounted for more than half of total Tkm performed for both product categories. This is logical, as the distances performed in international journeys are generally longer than for national transport.
A substantial increase of 22 % was observed from 2011 to 2012 for agricultural products (NST2007 division “01”). This rise meant that this product category rose one place in the ranking of Tkm by main product categories compared to 2011, overtaking ‘Coal and lignite; crude petroleum and natural gas’ (NST2007 division “02”) to become the third most important product category in EU inland waterways transport.
Transport of metal ores and other mining and quarrying products by country
Dutch and German inland waterways are the most significant for the transport of metal ores and other mining and quarrying products
The main country involved in the transport of metal ores and mining and quarrying products was the Netherlands, which on its own accounted for almost 40 % of the tonnes transported and 36 % of the Tkm performed (Figure 1). Germany came second according to both measures, with 21 % of the tonnes and 27 % of the Tkm. This is not surprising, as both countries have an extensive inland waterways network that plays an important role in their national transport systems. These networks are also connected to major ports such as Rotterdam and Hamburg, which are key hubs for imports to and exports from the European Union.
Belgium, France and Romania were the next three countries in the top 5. However, the order of these three countries was different when looking at tonnes or Tkm. In terms of tonnes transported, Belgium came third with a share of 17 %, followed by France (9 %) and Romania (6 %); in terms of Tkm performed, Romania, with a share of 14 %, was ahead of Belgium (8 %) and France (7 %). This situation is mainly due to journeys involving Romanian inland waterways being performed over longer distances than for the other two countries.
In terms of Tkm performed, the main route for inland waterways transport of metal ores and other mining and quarrying products is between the Netherlands and Germany, accounting for 42 % of the EU total (Table 3). The main flow is from the Netherlands to Germany (28 %), while the second most significant is the same route in the opposite direction, from Germany to the Netherlands (14%). The Netherlands was either the loading or the unloading country in five of the top ten country-to-country flows for metal ores and other mining and quarrying products; Germany was the loading or unloading country in four of the top ten flows. Belgium, Romania and Austria each made two appearances in the top ten flows. The flow from Ukraine to the Netherlands was pushed into fourth place in terms of Tkm because of the long distances covered, even though the volume of goods was relatively small. Similar considerations apply to the movements from Serbia to Romania and from the Netherlands to Austria, both of which appear in the top ten flows for metal ores and other mining and quarrying products.
When looking at volumes in tonnes, the main route was also between the Netherlands and Germany, accounting for over 50 % of the EU total (Table 4). The main country-to-country flow is not surprisingly from the Netherlands to Germany (40 %). The top 10 flows in terms of tonnes are also dominated by four countries: the Netherlands and Belgium (with 5 appearances each), Germany and France (with 4 appearances each). The picture is completed by the flow from Slovakia to Austria in seventh place.
Transport of coke and refined petroleum products by country
For coke and refined petroleum products also, Dutch and German waterways dominate inland waterways transport
The main countries involved in the inland waterways transport of coke and refined petroleum products were again the Netherlands and Germany (Figure 2). The Netherlands was first in terms of tonnes, with more than 50 % of the total transported in Europe, while it came second in terms of Tkm, with 40 % of the total. Germany was first for Tkm, with 44 % of the total, while it represented 27 % of the tonnes transported. This reflects the longer distances performed by vessels passing through German inland waterways. Belgium was in third place (12 % of tonnes transported and 5 % of Tkm performed), followed by France (6 % of tonnes transported and 4 % of Tkm performed).
In terms of Tkm performed for coke and refined petroleum products, the flows between the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium occupied the first five of the top ten country-to-country flows and accounted for over 60% of total Tkm performed on inland waterways in Europe (Table 5). The main flow is from the Netherlands to Germany, accounting for more than 25% of the total Tkm performed. Switzerland and France also appear in the top ten as unloading countries receiving goods loaded in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The only flow in the top ten not involving either Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands is that from Romania to Serbia.
Looking at volumes of coke and refined petroleum products transported in tonnes, the picture is quite similar (Table 6). There is a predominance of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium in the top ten flows. The only flow in the top ten not involving one of these countries is from Slovakia to Austria. However, the top two flows are reversed compared to the top two flows for Tkm performed. The main flow is from the Netherlands to Belgium, accounting for more than 35 % of the total tonnes transported.
Data sources and availability
All figures presented in this article have been extracted from the Eurostat online inland waterways transport database. The related datasets are collected according to the Regulation 1365/2006 on statistics of goods transport by inland waterways implemented by the Regulation 425/2007 and amended by the Regulation 1304/2007.
14 Member States are obliged to deliver data: Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Germany (DE), France (FR), Croatia (HR), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Romania (RO), Slovakia (SK) and the United Kingdom (UK). Following the requirements of Regulation 1365/2006 (article 2, point 3), the United Kingdom delivers only the reduced annual dataset E1 (annex E of the Regulation 1365/2006).
On a voluntary basis, Italy (IT), Lithuania (LT) and Finland (FI) provide the reduced dataset E1 (annex E of the Regulation 1365/2006).
Calculation of EU aggregates: In Table 2, EU-28 international and total goods transport in tonnes is calculated excluding double counting. EU-28 total international transport is calculated by adding the international loadings plus the international unloading for which the loading country is not in the EU-28. Then, the EU-28 total transport is calculated by adding national transport and the total international transport.
National inland waterways transport: Inland waterways transport between two ports of a national territory irrespective of the nationality of vessel.
International inland waterways transport: Inland waterways transport between two ports located in different national territories.
Inland waterways transit: Inland waterways transport through a national territory between two ports both located in another national territory or national territories provided that in the total journey within the national territory there is no transshipment.
Calculation of country flows: In Tables 3 and 5, presenting the Tkm results, international and transit transport reported by the Member States are taken into account. In Tables 4 and 5, presenting the results in tonnes, only international transport reported by the Member States is taken into account in order to avoid double counting. In addition, the loading country in these two tables also correspond to the reporting country.
Belgium: 2011 data are provisional.
Italy: Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Lithuania: Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Finland: Data are delivered on voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
United Kingdom: 2012 data are provisional. Following the requirements of Regulation No 1365/2006 (article 2 point 3), a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Breakdown by group of goods
The NST 2007 classification is available on RAMON.
- ":" not available
- "-" not applicable or real zero
- "0" less than half of the unit used and thus rounded to zero
The content of this statistical article is based on data collected within the framework of the Regulation 1365/2006 on statistics of goods transport by inland waterways implemented by the Regulation 425/2007 and amended by the Regulation 1304/2007.
Further Eurostat information
- All transport publications on line
- Energy, transport and environment indicators - 2013 edition
- Illustrated Glossary for Transport Statistics - 4th edition
- Transport, see:
- Inland waterways transport (t_iww)
- Goods transport by inland waterways (ttr00007)
- Transport, see:
- Inland waterways transport (iww)
- Inland waterways transport infrastructure (iww_if)
- Inland waterways transport equipment (iww_eq)
- Inland waterways transport - Enterprises, economic performances and employment (iww_ec)
- Inland waterways transport measurement (iww_go)
- Inland waterways transport - accidents (iww_ac)
Methodology / Metadata
- Reference Manual on Inland Waterways Transport Statistics
- Inland waterways transport measurement - goods (ESMS metadata file - iww_go_esms)