84 million tonnes of goods from Russia and Ukraine to the Netherlands

Rape seed field in spring in central Ukraine
© Getty Images/iStockphoto
In 2020, altogether 84 million tonnes of goods (one tonne equals 1,000 kg) arrived in the Netherlands from Russia and Ukraine, with a value of 32 billion euros. These goods originated from either Russia or Ukraine and were unloaded in the Netherlands. A part of these goods arrived in the Netherlands via a different country. At 10 million tonnes, a significantly lower volume went from the Netherlands to Russia and Ukraine. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this in the article ‘Goods flows between the Netherlands and Russia/Ukraine’ (Dutch only), based on the most recently available figures.

Goods transport from Russia alone stood at 76 million tonnes, representing a value of 29 billion euros. More than 7 million tonnes of goods with an estimated value of nearly 4 billion euros came from Ukraine. In 2020, Russia had a share of 13 percent in the total weight of goods entering the Netherlands, while Ukraine had a 1-percent share. This means that Russia was in second place in terms of inbound cargo weight, after Germany (also 13 percent).

Composition of inbound goods from Russia and Ukraine, 2020
 Inbound goods (million tonnes)
Crude oil30.6
Petroleum products14.4
Coal and lignite13.3
Natural gas6.6
Chemical products
and fertilisers
Wood, pulp, paper, wood
and paper products
Basic metals and
metal products
Other goods3.3
Agricultural, forestry,
and fishery products
Food, beverages and tobacco1.1
Basic metals and
metal products
Chemical products
and fertilisers
Petroleum products0.3
Wood, pulp, paper, wood
and paper products
Other goods0.3

Russia has significant share in inbound mineral fuels

In 2020, crude oil accounted for 40 percent of inbound cargo weight from Russia, petroleum products for 19 percent, coal for 18 percent and natural gas for 9 percent. This means that these fossil fuels had a combined share of 85 percent in inbound cargo from Russia. Other inbound goods from Russia include basic chemicals and fertilisers (4 percent), as well as wood, pulp, paper, and wood and paper products (also 4 percent).

Russia holds a particularly large share in the weight of mineral fuels that are unloaded in the Netherlands. In 2020, 41 percent of the gross weight of coal entering the Netherlands came from Russia. Russia’s share in crude oil was 31 percent, in natural gas 20 percent, in petroleum products 18 percent and in cokes 13 percent. Aside from mineral fuels, a substantial share (12 percent) of the weight of wood, pulp, paper, and wood and paper products was shipped to the Netherlands from a Russian port.

Share in inbound goods, 2020
 Russia (% of weight transported)Ukraine (% of weight transported)
Coal and lignite41.30
Crude oil30.60
Natural gas19.90
Petroleum products17.70
Wood, pulp, paper,
wood and paper products
Agricultural, forestry,
and fishery products
Basic metals and metal products6.31.5
Chemical products and
Waste and secondary raw materials4.30
Plastics and rubber3.80
Food, beverages and tobacco0.82
Pharmaceuticals, chemical
specialty products
Salt, sand, gravel and clay1.60
Transport equipment0.40.5
Other goods0.50
Other mineral products0.40.1
Machinery and electronics0.30.1
Textiles, leather and
leather products

Mainly agricultural, forestry and fishery products from Ukraine

In 2020, inbound cargo from Ukraine mainly consisted of agricultural, forestry and fishery products accounting for more than half of total inbound goods from this country. These were mostly natural products such as cereals and grain products (maize), and vegetable fats such as sunflower oil. Other inbound goods from Ukraine mainly concerned food, beverages and tobacco (14 percent) and ores (12 percent).

As a country of origin, Ukraine had a 9-percent share in inbound agricultural, forestry and fishery products in 2020. In 2019, this share was 13 percent. Cereals accounted for approximately one quarter of total inbound weight from Ukraine. Of the ores unloaded in the Netherlands, nearly 4 percent were shipped from Ukraine.

Inbound goods from Russia and Ukraine not only for domestic consumption

Goods are transported to the Netherlands for various purposes: for domestic consumption, for re-exporting or for transit to other countries. Inbound 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.

Over 40 percent of the goods (in terms of weight) imported from Russia in 2020 were destined for consumption in the Netherlands. A slightly higher share (45 percent) was transhipped to other countries. The remaining part concerned re-exports. Such a division is more or less in line with the average for all countries of origin.

For Ukraine, this threefold division is not available. However, it is known for the country group 'Eastern Europe, incl. Balkans and Caucasus (non-EU)', in which Ukraine is relatively dominant in terms of the volume of trade with the Netherlands. In the chart below, this country group is shown as ‘Eastern Europe (non-EU)’. Fifty-two percent of the weight of goods from this group was destined for domestic consumption, i.e. more than the average across all countries. Thirty-four percent was destined for transit and the rest (15 percent) for re-exports.

Inbound goods flows by domestic consumption, re-exports and transit trade, 2020
 Imports for domestic consumption (% of weight transported)Imports for re-export (% of weight transported)Inbound transit (% of weight transported)
Eastern Europe (non-EU)521534