60 percent of inbound goods leave the Netherlands again

The total gross weight of goods which entered the Netherlands from abroad in 2018 amounted to 628 billion kg. This was 0.4 percent more than in 2017. Sixty percent of these goods left the country again. In addition, 185 billion kg in outbound cargo consisted of Dutch domestic exports. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this in a new publication on international goods flows in 2018.

Over 40 percent of all inbound goods were destined for domestic consumption, e.g. consumer retail goods or inputs for domestic businesses. Nearly 60 percent of the inbound cargo was in transit or destined for re-export. Goods in transit remain in foreign ownership; they are merely transhipped from one transport mode to another or stored temporarily within the Netherlands. Re-exports involve goods which are temporarily in Dutch ownership and often undergo minimal processing before they are exported again. They form a constituent part of imports and exports; goods in transit do not.
In addition to re-exports and transit trade, the Netherlands exported 185 billion kg of domestically manufactured products. The total gross export weight of outbound transport stood at 561 billion kg.

International goods flows by gross weight Flowchart of international goods flows to, from and through the Netherlands, in billion kg, 2018. Inbound transport broken down by imports for domestic use, re-exports and transit. Outbound transport broken down by domestic exports, re-exports and transit.Inbound transportTransitDomestic exportsOutbound transportImports for domestic useRe-exports628 5612671852749627598the Netherlandsx bn kg1.1.1 International goods flows by gross weight 2018

Part of inbound cargo arrives via transhipment in EU countries

Roughly half of all the goods transported to the Netherlands in 2018 were shipped from elsewhere in the EU; in most cases, however, the country of origin was outside the EU. The main transit points for shipments to the Netherlands are Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. More than 40 percent of the goods originate from non-EU countries.
Over three-quarters of all cargo shipped out of the Netherlands in 2018 was originally unloaded in another EU member state. The final destination of these goods was an EU country as well; approximately two-thirds of the total gross weight was destined for another EU member state.

International goods flows, 2018
SoortEurope (EU) (%)Europe (non-EU) (%)Africa (%)North America (%)South America (%)Asia (%)Oceania, other (%)

Air, maritime and rail transport are mainly transit trade and re-exports

More than 60 percent of the total gross weight of inbound cargo entered the Netherlands on sea vessels, while 11 percent was shipped via inland waterways. The share of aviation in the gross weight of inbound goods was only 0.1 percent. Over 40 percent of inbound shipments were intended for domestic consumption, e.g. for retail sales or as inputs for domestic businesses. Over half of the goods that were delivered via pipeline and inland waterway transport were destined for domestic consumption. In the case of overland transport, half was intended for domestic consumption. Goods carried by sea and rail were more often destined for transit trade and re-exportation. In air transport, the bulk of inbound cargo left the Netherlands again.
In outbound goods flows, one-third were exports of Dutch domestic products. Of the goods which were exported via road or maritime transport, over 40 percent consisted of Dutch domestic products. As for other transport modes, these are mainly goods destined for re-exports and transit trade.

Modal split of international goods flows by gross weight, 2018
GoederenstroomInbound transit (%)Imports for re-export (%)Imports for domestic use (%)Outbound transit (%)Re-exports (%)Domestic exports (%)
Maritime transport-51.6-13.2-35.246.512.141.5
Inland navigation-24.4-21-54.65320.926
Road transport-37.4-14.5-
Rail transport-49.2-16-34.971.412.616.1
Air transport-60.2-15.3-24.669.59.920.6
Pipeline transport-12.6-21.2-66.25820.721.4