China has 15-percent share in total inbound transport

© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
The total value of goods from China which entered the Netherlands in 2018 stood at 113 billion euros. This was 15 percent of the value of all incoming cargo that year. Three-quarters of the goods left the country again. These goods from China accounted for nearly one-fifth of all goods passing through the Netherlands in transit and re-exports. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in a new publication on international goods flows over 2018.

At 5 percent, China‘s share in the value of total outbound transport from the Netherlands in 2018 was smaller than its share in the inbound flow of goods. Goods from China are mainly carried to the Netherlands in containers; of all incoming container shipments, over 30 percent originated from China.

The share of goods flows to and from China is smaller in terms of weight. In both directions, the goods have a relatively high average value per kilogram compared to goods flows in trade with other countries.

China's share in internatinal goods flows to and from the Netherlands, 2018
StroomEenheidTotal (%)Non-containerised (%)Containerised (%)
Inbound transportValue15.07.231.1
Inbound transportGross weight3.21.117.0
Outbound transportValue5.03.59.4
Outbound transportGross weight2.21.09.2

Nearly 10 percent of inbound goods for domestic use come from China

Over 20 percent of inbound shipments from China are destined for domestic consumption. These include consumer retail products and inputs to domestic businesses. They hold a 9-percent share in the total value of inbound goods for domestic consumption in the Netherlands.

China mainly occupies a high share in the import value of machinery and electronics (25 percent) and textiles, leather and leather products (21 percent). One-quarter of other goods come from China, including printed matter, furniture and various industrial products. China’s contribution to domestic imports of coal, natural gas, crude oil, coke, petroleum products, waste and secondary raw materials is very small.

China's share in domestic imports, 2018
GoederensoortShare in value (%)
Machinery and electronics25.2
Textiles, leather and leather products21.2
Plastics and rubber products10.2
Other mineral products10.1
Basic metals and metal products7.2
Pharmaceuticals and specialty
Wood, pulp, paper, products of
wood and paper products
Salt, sand, gravel and clay5.0
Basic chemicals and
Transport equipment3.6
Food, beverages and tobacco1.7
Agricultural, forestry and
fishery products
Petroleum products0.4
Waste and secondary raw materials0.4
Other goods24.5

China’s share larger in inbound goods for re-exports and transit trade

Aside from inbound transport for domestic use, 75 percent of incoming cargo from China is forwarded to other countries as transit goods and re-exports. China’s share in the value of these flows exceeds its share in domestic imports: 19 percent of transit goods and 16 percent of re-exports.

China’s contribution to the value of inbound transit trade was largest for machinery and electronics, textiles and leather, other mineral products and other goods. Transit goods are mainly destined for other EU countries, the neighbouring countries Germany and Belgium in particular. In terms of imports intended for re-exports as well, China’s share is largest for the other goods, textiles and leather and machinery and electronics.

China's share in inbound transport for re-exports and transit trade, 2018
GoederensoortRe-exports (%)Transit trade (%)
Machinery and electronics26.049.9
Textiles, leather and leather products25.929.9
Other mineral products15.419.8
Salt, sand, gravel and clay14.713.9
Plastcis and rubber products10.412.8
Transport equipment9.29.5
Basic metals and metal products9.29.4
Basic chemicals
and fertilisers
Wood, pulp, paper, products of wood
and paper products
Pharmaceuticals and chemical
Food, beverages and tobacco3.36.0
Agricultural, forrestry and
fishery products
Petroleum products0.62.1
Coal and lignite0.50.1
Waste and secondary raw materials0.45.2
Natural gas0.00.0
Crude oil0.00.0
Other goods31.818.9