€2 bn trade surplus in transport services with the UK

© Hollandse Hoogte
Dutch service trade with the United Kingdom over the first three quarters of 2019 included 17.1 billion euros in imports and 19.3 billion in exports. This brought the trade surplus with the UK to 2.2 billion euros. Of this amount, 2 billion euros concerned trade in transport services. The Dutch trade surplus in transport services is larger with the UK than with any other trading partner. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the occasion of Brexit Day.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the Netherlands supplied 3.5 billion euros in transport services to the UK. This concerned revenues generated by Dutch transport companies for e.g. loading and unloading of lorries on behalf of British customers. At the same time, the Netherlands imported 1.5 billion euros worth of transport services from the UK. These were payments by Dutch companies to British hauliers. The export of transport services was 5 percent higher than in the first three quarters of 2018, while the import was 6 percent higher year-on-year.
The Dutch trade surplus in transport services with the UK has remained at around the level of 2 billion euros for the first three quarters of several consecutive years; only in 2017 did it fall below that level. Both imports and exports of transport services have increased slightly relative to 2015. In 2016 and 2017, exports of transport services declined and the trade surplus fell to 1.7 billion euros. Exports rose again in 2018 and 2019 with the trade surplus increasing once more to approximately 2 billion euros.

Trade in transport services with the United Kingdom, Q1-Q3 (bn euros)
JaarTrade surplusExportsImports
20152.0893.3111.222
20161.9933.2851.293
20171.6652.8881.222
20181.9153.2971.383
20191.9853.4531.469

International freight forwarding is the driving force

In 2019, the trade surplus in transport services was as much due to maritime transport as to aviation and road transport. These three transport modes each occupied a share of 27 percent in the total transport service trade surplus. Smaller contributions were made by other transport modes such as railway transport and inland waterway transport (10 percent) as well as postal and courier services (9 percent).
Most of the maritime and road transport concerns freight forwarding, i.e. Dutch companies earning from the transportation of freight on behalf of British customers. In the case of aviation, the bulk concerns passenger transport and auxiliary transport services such as loading and unloading at airports. Road freight transport constitutes the largest share in both imports and exports of services.
International freight forwarding accounted for more than half of the international trade in transport services with the UK, followed by auxiliary transport services (around one-third) and passenger transport (around one-seventh).

Trade in transport services with the United Kingdom, Q1-Q3 2019 (bn euros)
ModaliteitTrade surplusExportsImports
Maritime0.5370.9120.377
Aviation0.5430.8670.324
Road0.5281.1450.617
Other0.2020.3180.116
Postal and courier services0.1750.2110.035

Largest trade surplus is with the UK

When it comes to transport services, the Netherlands has a trade surplus with other countries as well. With 2 billion euros over the first nine months of 2019, the surplus with the UK was the largest. The Dutch trade balance with Germany amounts to a surplus of 1.4 billion euros. However, the trade volume in transport services (imports and exports) with Germany is larger than with the United Kingdom. The volume and therefore the trade surplus in transport services is lower with all other countries. Although trade with the United States, France and Belgium is relatively large, on balance this accounts for lower trade surpluses (approximately 0.5 billion euros with each of the three countries).

Trade in transport services, first 9 months of 2019 (bn euros)
LandTrade surplusExportsImports
United Kingdom1.9853.4531.469
Germany1.3835.5474.164
Switzerland0.6921.1510.459
Finland0.6650.8130.147
Denmark0.5871.0230.436
Sweden0.5720.8850.312
United States0.5382.1581.62
France0.5321.6781.145
Belgium0.4822.361.879
Ireland0.3480.7460.397