Inland waterways freight transport - quarterly and annual data
From Statistics Explained
- Data from December 2013, 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.
Main statistical findings
Pattern of activity in European Inland Waterways following the economic crisis in 2008
Following the economic crisis in 2008, activity in Inland Waterways transport has been very volatile. Measured in Mio 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 7% before recovering again in 2012 with a rise of 5%. At the quarterly level, the movements are even more extreme. The fall between the peak in Q2 2008 and the trough in Q1 2009 was 18% and the subsequent recovery to Q3 2010 was a rise of 32%. There followed a fall of 17% to Q4 2011 with a rise to the end of the year in Q4 2012 of 14%. All this presumably reflects partly the strong movements in the demand for Inland Waterways traffic over the past four years and in addition the severe weather conditions, particularly in winter 2011 (frozen rivers, etc…).
The EU total in terms of transported volumes (in 1 000 tonnes) showed a pattern similar to the transport performance in tonne-kilometres. However, the 24% decline between Q2 2008 and Q1 2009 at was even more marked, as was the subsequent 32% recovery to Q3 2010. Since then, the quarterly tonnages have oscillated around 225 million tonnes.
After a recovery in 2010, a renewed decline in 2011, inland waterways transport recovered again in 2012
At the EU-28 level, the 5% overall rise in Inland Waterways transport in Tkm in 2012 was made up by an increase of 7% in international traffic, a 6% rise in transit traffic but with little change in national traffic. In terms of tonnes, a rise of 3% in international traffic was offset by a similar fall in national traffic, leaving the total little changed.
At country level, there was much variation in performance in terms of Tkm in 2012. For the Netherlands, a 6% rise in transit transport largely offset a decline in national transport. For Germany, the 9% rise in transit traffic outweighed small falls in national and international transport. In Belgium, in contrast, the strong 10% rise in the tonnages transported reflected strong gains in both transit (40%) and international traffic (13%). For France the 6% rise in transit and 3% in international transport was largely offset by a 3% fall in national transport.
Container transport forges ahead at levels well above those prior to the global economic crisis
The pattern of EU freight container transport movements as with total transport recorded a strong downturn in 2009 but this followed a lesser fall in 2008. Since then, the trend towards the adoption of container transport led by 2010 to the volume (expressed as TEU-km) exceeding the levels recorded before the crisis in 2008. With further rises of 1% in 2011 and 7% in 2012, container transport TEU-km ended nearly 12 % above the 2007 level in 2012.
Compared with 2011, EU freight container transport performance in 2011 in terms of TEU-km rose by 6% for loaded and 1.5 % for empty containers giving a 5% rise in total. In 2012, loaded container movements were over 2 .5 times empty container moves. The largest contribution came from the Netherlands, followed by Germany. Belgium recorded very strong growth of nearly 50%, a rise in loaded container movements outweighing a fall in empty movements.
‘Metal ores’ is the most important individual goods category transported
At the EU level, the main type of goods (according to NST2007) transported in 2012 are ‘metal ores’, ‘coke and refined petroleum’ and ‘products of agriculture’. In terms of Tkm, these three product groups accounted for a little more than half of all goods transport on EU inland waterways in 2011. Compared with 2010, while the share of ‘metal ores’ in total transport performance decreased by 1.8 percentage points, the shares of ‘coke and refined petroleum products’ and the ‘products of agriculture’ rose by 0.3 and 1.7 percentage points respectively. Within the ’Other’ group, there was a large rise of 11% in ‘goods transported in containers’ and lesser rises of 8% for ‘food, beverages and tobacco’ and 4% for ‘other non-metallic mineral products’, largely materials for the construction industry.
Self-propelled barges and dry bulk not self-propelled barges accounted for over 95% of total EU transport performance in 2012
In 2012, either ‘self-propelled barge’ (dry or liquid bulk) or ‘dry bulk not self-propelled barge’ were the predominant types of vessel used for goods transport on EU inland waterways. Both increased their total transport performance between 2011 and 2012. Among the major countries, for which data are available, these vessel categories accounted for the largest volumes transported. For the Netherlands and Belgium, these types accounted for nearly 100% of transport and well over 90% for Germany. France in contrast had a significant proportion of ‘other goods carrying vessels’ and ‘sea going vessels’. ‘Barges not self-propelled’ were the dominant element in most eastern European countries, with especially high shares in Poland and Romania (each more than 87%). The only exception was Slovakia where ‘other goods carrying vessels’ accounted for over 60% of total goods transport.
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: 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.
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: 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)