Inland waterways freight transport - quarterly and annual data
From Statistics Explained
- Data from July 2014, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article presents the main results from annual and quarterly statistics on inland waterways goods transport in the European Union (EU) (including Croatia). The article is based on both quarterly and annual data, for total and container transport, while data on the type of transport, type of goods and type of vessels are only shown on a yearly basis.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 1.1 Inland waterways transport performance reached a peak in the 4th quarter 2013
- 1.2 Container transport forges ahead at levels well above those prior to the global economic crisis
- 1.3 ‘Metal ores’ is the most important individual goods category transported
- 1.4 Self-propelled barges accounted for more than half of total EU transport performance in 2013
- 1.5 ‘Flammable liquids’ is the most transported dangerous goods category in EU inland waterways
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
Main statistical findings
Inland waterways transport performance reached a peak in the 4th quarter 2013
Following the economic crisis in 2008, activity in Inland Waterways transport has been very volatile. Measured in TKm, activity fell by 16% in 2009 but rebounded sharply in 2010 by 19%. However, the industry failed to sustain this improvement in 2011, falling by 9% before recovering again in 2012 with a rise of 6%. The recovery continued in 2013 with an increase of 2% that was made up by a rise of 3% in international transport and a 1% rise in both transit and national transport. In terms of tonnes, an increase of 2% in international traffic was offset by a similar fall in national traffic, leaving the total little changed (+0.3%).
At quarterly level, the movements are even more extreme. The fall between the peak in Q2 2008 and the trough in Q1 2009 was 20% and the subsequent recovery to Q3 2010 was a rise of 27%. There followed a fall of 15% to Q4 2011 with a rise to the end of the year in Q4 2012 of 10%. A peak is finally reached in the 4th quarter 2013 with around 38 billion Tkm, which is the highest level reached in a quarter so far.
The main contributors to the EU inland waterways transport performance (in Tkm) are by far Germany and the Netherlands. Combined, both countries represented more than 70% of the EU inland waterways transport performance in 2013. When looking at the transport of goods in tonnes, the Netherlands is by far the leading country with a share of 38% of the total EU transport of goods in 2013. Germany follows with a share of 24%. The third country was Belgium with a share of 20%, which is much higher than when looking at transport performance (7%).
8 countries, out of 14 having reported data, observed an increase of the transport performance (in Tkm). The highest increase was observed in 2013 by Austria with almost 10%, followed by Luxembourg (+8%). On the other side, the Czech Republic and Poland registered the highest falls in 2013 (-34% and -30%, respectively).
When looking at the transport of goods in tonnes, the picture was similar for almost all countries with the exception of Austria, Poland and Slovakia. Indeed, Austria and Slovakia registered a fall (-0.8% and -1.6%, respectively) in 2013 of the volume of goods transported whereas the transport performance in TKM increased. This situation suggests that the distances covered by the vessels carrying the goods increased in 2013 compared to the previous year. On the opposite, Poland observed a significant rise of the tonnes transported (+24%) in 2013 while the transport performance was substantially reduced (-30%). This time, the situation suggests that the distances covered by the vessels carrying the goods decreased in 2013 compared to the previous year.
Container transport forges ahead at levels well above those prior to the global economic crisis
The pattern of EU freight container transport performance, as with total transport, recorded a strong downturn in 2009 but this followed a lesser fall in 2008. From 2010, a regular recovery is observed every year to reach a peak in the 3rd quarter 2013, exceeding the levels recorded before the crisis in 2008. A rise of 14% is observed between the 3rd quarter 2007 and the same quarter in 2013.
A seasonal pattern can be observed with falls in the fourth quarters of each year followed by an increase each 1st quarter of the next year.
Compared with 2012, EU freight container transport performance in 2013 in terms of TEU-km rose by 3% for loaded and 5% for empty containers giving a 4% rise in total. In 2013, loaded containers accounted for two thirds of the total container transport performance. The largest contribution came from the Netherlands, closely followed by Germany. Both countries combined accounted for almost 90% of the EU container transport performance. These two countries, together with Austria showed an increase of the container transport performance in 2013 compared to the previous year, while all other countries registered substantial decreases. Germany and the Netherlands increased their container performance for both loaded and empty containers. It can be noticed that Belgium observed a rise of the empty container transport performance whereas the loaded container transport performance decreased.
‘Metal ores’ is the most important individual goods category transported
At the EU level, the main types of goods (according to NST2007) transported in 2013 are ‘metal ores’, ‘coke and refined petroleum’ and ‘Coal and crude petroleum’. This last category overtook ‘Products of agriculture’ which was third in 2012. Compared with 2012, while the shares of ‘metal ores’, ‘coke and refined petroleum products’ and ‘Products of agriculture’ in total transport performance decreased by 0.5, 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points respectively, the share of ‘Coal and crude petroleum’ rose by 0.9 percentage points respectively. In terms of Tkm, the top-three products accounted for a little more than half of all goods transport on EU inland waterways in 2013.
Self-propelled barges accounted for more than half of total EU transport performance in 2013
In 2013, ‘self-propelled barge’ was the predominant type of vessel used for goods transport on EU inland waterways, carrying little more than half of total EU transport of goods. The volume of goods transported with ‘self-propelled barge’ increased by 2% compared to 2012. The second most used type of vessel is ‘barge not self-propelled’, which showed the same increase of 2% in 2013 compared to 2012. These two vessel categories accounted for the largest volumes transported for all countries with the exception of Slovakia. These two types of vessel combined plus the category ‘self-propelled tanker barges’ accounted for almost 100% for 7 countries out of 13 (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania) and more than 90% for 4 other countries. The only exceptions to these very high levels are France and Slovakia, which have a substantial use of ‘other goods carrying vessels’ (28% and 65% respectively).
‘Flammable liquids’ is the most transported dangerous goods category in EU inland waterways
Transport by dangerous goods is the subject of a voluntary data collection. Tus data are not available for all countries. Only 7 countries out of 13 reported data. Moreover, from the major countries in terms of inland waterways traffic, data are available only for the Netherlands. In consequence, it is hardly possible to draw conclusions at EU level.
Nevertheless, we can observe that ‘Flammable liquids’ is the category of dangerous goods transported the most in the countries reporting these data. The share of this category compared to the total transport of dangerous goods accounted for more than 80% for all countries.
It has to be noted that there is no transport of dangerous goods in the Czech Republic.
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), 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 is delivering 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).
- When presenting quarterly data (Figures 1, 2 and Tables 1, 2), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
- When presenting annual transport of goods (Tables 3, 4 and Figures 3 and 4), EU-28 includes data for all Member States providing data.
- When presenting annual container data (Figure 2 and Table 5), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
- When presenting annual data by type of vessel (Figures 5 and 6), EU-28 includes only Member States obliged to provide data with the exception of the United Kingdom.
Calculation of EU aggregates: In Table 4, the EU-28 international and total goods transport in tonnes is calculated excluding double counting. The 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 the 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.
Country specific notes
Belgium: 2011 data are provisional.
Bulgaria: Annual transit transport is available from 2008 but in 2009 the country implemented a new methodology for the collection of this kind of traffic. Quarterly transit transport is available from 2010. Transit data supplied include Romanian national IWW transport data equivalent to Bulgarian transit transport.
Croatia: Quarterly transit transport is not available. Annual transit transport is available starting from 2008.
Italy: No data available for 2013. Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Lithuania: No data available for 2013. Data are delivered on a voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
Hungary: Due a methodological change, transit data are underestimated for the 3rd quarter 2013 and are not comparable with the other quarters.
The Netherlands: Due a methodological change, data on containers are underestimated in 2009 and cannot be compared with other years.
Romania: From 2009 (annual data) and 2010 (quarterly data) the country has implemented a new methodology for the collection of transit data. Transit data supplied include Bulgarian national IWW transport data equivalent to Romanian transit transport.
Finland: No data available for 2013. Data are delivered on voluntary basis. Only a simplified annual dataset is provided.
United Kingdom: 2013 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 - goods (iww_go)
- Inland waterways - accidents (iww_ac)
Methodology / Metadata
- Inland waterways transport measurement - goods (ESMS metadata file - iww_go_esms)
- Reference Manual on Inland Waterways Transport Statistics