Fewer dry bulk shipments by inland vessels in 2019

In 2019, inland vessels transported 361 million tonnes of goods over Dutch waterways, i.e. 0.4 percent more than one year previously. The weight of dry bulk shipments, which occupy the largest share at 52 percent, decreased by 6.1 percent. Shipments of liquid bulk cargo such as chemical and petroleum products increased by 10.8 percent. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new inland navigation figures.

Relative to the previous year, domestic waterway transport declined by 1.6 percent to 120 million tonnes in 2019. International transport rose by 1.4 percent to 241 million tonnes. Cargo shipments coming in from abroad were up in particular (5 percent). Outbound transport declined by 0.2 percent.

Weight of goods transported by inland vessels, 2019
StroomWeight transported (year-on-year % change)

Fewer shipments to Germany

The decline in international transport by Dutch inland vessels was primarily due to fewer cargo shipments to Germany. In 2019, this transport declined by 4.9 percent to 71 million tonnes. Inland vessels mainly transported less coal (9.5 percent) and metal ores (9.7 percent) to Germany. The amount of coal shipped to Germany over inland waterways has been decreasing for years. Germany has closed down several coal-fired power stations over the past few years, which resulted in lower demand for coal. Whereas in 2013, still over 28 million tonnes of coal were shipped to Germany, in 2019 this had dropped to slightly more than 19 million tonnes. Despite this decline, transport of coal and metal ores still holds the lion’s share of inland shipping to Germany (60 percent of all cargo).

Weight of goods in inland navigation from the Netherlands to Germany
goederen2018 (million tonnes)2019 (million tonnes)
Metal ores and other minerals25.823.3
Coal and lignite, crude oil and natural gas21.519.5
Coke and petroleum products8.49.2
Chemical products5.35.7
Other goods13.613.4

More container goods and liquid bulk

In 2019, the weight of container shipments increased by 3.2 percent year-on-year. The largest increase in inland waterway transport was on account of liquid bulk: by 10.8 percent to nearly 123 million tonnes in 2019. Liquid bulk mainly consists of hazardous substances, such as liquid refined petroleum products and chemical products.

Bulk of hazardous substances shipped by inland vessels

In 2019, inland vessels transported 99.5 million tonnes of hazardous substances, i.e. nearly 28 percent of all goods carried in inland navigation. More than 85 percent of all hazardous substances transported by inland waterway, road or rail are shipped by inland vessels. Flammable liquids such as petrol and diesel are the most commonly carried hazardous substances in inland shipping, accounting for 73 percent.

Transport of hazardous substances in inland navigation, 2019
Flammable liquids72.2
Compressed/liquidified gases3.1
Corrosive substances3.2
Other hazardous substances21

Figures over reporting year 2019 do not yet reflect any effects of the measures implemented against COVID-19.