Import value of transport services 32 percent up in first half of 2022

Maritime transport
© ANP / David Rozing
In the first six months of 2022, Dutch companies and consumers imported 22.7 billion euros in foreign transport services, i.e. nearly 32 percent more than in the first half of 2021. At the same time, the export value of transport services rose by more than 27 percent to 27.9 billion euros. The increase was partly driven by sharply higher transport prices. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new provisional figures on the international trade in services.

Given the size of the Dutch transport sector, transport services form a large part of the Netherlands’ services trade: they constitute the second largest import and export category. Transport services include carriage of passengers and freight, for example by sea, road, rail, air and (in the case of liquids or gas) by pipeline, as well as support services including storage, loading and unloading of freight. Import takes place when Dutch companies or consumers buy transport services from foreign companies or individuals, while export takes place when Dutch companies or individuals supply transport services to foreign companies or consumers. It is the transaction with a foreign party that counts, not in which country the service is actually performed.

Development of international trade in transport services1)
PeriodeImport value (year-on-year % change)Export value (year-on-year % change)
1st half of 2019*7.67.0
1st half of 2020*-7.1-9.3
1st half of 2021*12.211.7
1st half of 2022*31.627.3
1) Due to a method break, growth rates are based on provisional retrospective calculation up to 2019 inclusive. * Provisional figures

Transport services growing faster than Dutch services trade as a whole

In 2022, following a sharp contraction in services trade in 2020, the value of both imports and exports exceeds the pre-pandemic level of 2019 again, thanks to increased demand and rising prices. While total service imports were up by 14 percent in value on two years previously in the first half of 2022, the import value of transport services was over 37 percent higher. The value of both total exports and exported transport services is now also well beyond the pre-pandemic level.

International trade in services, H1 2022 relative to H1 20191)
DienstSoortDevelopment (% change)
Total trade in servicesImport value14.0
Total trade in servicesExport value13.8
Transport servicesImport value37.1
Transport servicesExport value28.9
1) Due to a method break, growth rates are based on provisional retrospective calculation up to 2019 inclusive. * Provisional figures

Imports of maritime services over 93 percent above pre-pandemic level

Within transport services, the largest import and export categories are road transport, maritime transport and air transport. Imports of maritime services grew substantially compared to the pre-pandemic period. In the first half of 2022, the import value was almost double the value in the same period of 2019 at 5.5 billion euros. The import value also rose in road transport services, by more than 33 percent. Most other transport services saw a less significant increase in imports. The import value of air transport services did not yet exceed the pre-pandemic level of 2019.

The value of transport services grew partly due to higher prices of transportation, especially in freight and maritime transport: sharply increased fuel prices and a shortage of shipping containers. In addition, however, logistical problems such as the Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal and lockdowns in major port cities drove up transport prices sharply in the past two years.

Import value of transport services
Vevroersdienst1st half of 2022* (bn euros)1st half of 20191) (bn euros)
Road transport11.38.5
Maritime transport5.52.9
Air transport2.83.1
transport services
Postal and courier services0.70.4
Inland shipping0.60.3
Rail transport0.40.3
1) Figures up to 2019 inclusive are based on a provisional recalculation due to a method break. * Provisional figures