More road and maritime transport in 2018

In 2018, 1.71 billion tonnes of goods were transported to, from and within the Netherlands. This represents a year-on-year increase of 1.2 percent, entirely due to more freight traffic by road (1.6 percent) and by sea (1.5 percent). This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the latest annual goods transport monitor.

Total weight of goods transported, 2018
modaliteitDevelopment 2017-2018 (year-on-year % change)
Road haulage1.6
Maritime shipping1.5
Inland navigation-0.3
Rail transport-0.6

Nearly 80 percent of goods carried by road and sea

Of all cargo transported in 2018, over 44 percent of the weight was carried by lorries. Seagoing vessels shipped more than 35 percent of all goods, while over 18 percent was carried by inland vessels. Rail transport and aviation contribute only a limited portion to total goods transport.

Total weight of goods transported, 2018
Road haulage44.2
Maritime shipping35.2
Inland navigation18.3
Rail transport2.2

Mainly more domestic transport

In 2018, domestic goods transport amounted to 681 million tonnes, up by 3.5 percent on the previous year. This was primarily road haulage with 82 percent of all inland transportation carried out by road hauliers. In 2018, these road hauliers carried 2.6 percent more goods than in the previous year, mainly more building materials and trade goods.

Inland vessels transported 7.3 percent more cargo. These shipments mainly concerned metal ores and container goods. Domestic rail transport grew by 16.9 percent. At 0.5 percent, however, this type of transport constitutes only a small share of total domestic goods transport.

Weight of goods transported
GoederenstroomPeriodeMaritime shipping (million tonnes)Inland navigation (million tonnes)Rail transport (million tonnes)Road haulage (million tonnes)Aviation (million tonnes)
Domestic transport20170113.52.7541.60
Domestic transport20180121.83.2555.70
Cross-border transport2017595.8200.435.1203.81.8
Cross-border transport2018604.5191.234.4201.71.8

Cross-border transport up for seagoing vessels

Cross-border goods transport decreased slightly last year, to nearly 1.04 billion tonnes. More cargo was transported from and to the Netherlands by sea only (1.5 percent). The majority of these goods which have a foreign origin or destination were shipped by seagoing vessels (58 percent).

The weight of goods carried across the border by inland vessels declined by 4.6 percent. In the second half of 2018, inland waterway navigation was severely affected by low water levels. As a result, vessels to and from Germany had to be loaded less heavily. Rail transport to and from the Netherlands decreased by 2 percent, while road haulage dropped by 1.1 percent. Air transport decreased as well, by 0.3 percent. The share of aviation in total cross-border transport is relatively small at 0.2 percent.