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Looking at EU maritime freight transport countries and ports

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Here at EMODnet Human Activities, we have just updated our ports traffic data. We thought it was a good time to take a look at recent statistics concerning EU maritime freight transport.

The Netherlands, which overtook the United Kingdom in 2010 as the largest EU maritime freight transport country, has reported the largest volumes of seaborne freight handling in Europe every year since then. According to Eurostat, the volume of seaborne goods handled in Dutch ports (594 million tonnes) in 2015 represented 15.5% of the EU-28 total. (Rotterdam and Amsterdam maintained their positions among the five largest freight ports.)

Behind the Netherlands in 2015 were the United Kingdom and Italy, with shares of 12.9% and 11.9%, respectively, of the EU total. Spain was the fourth largest

Several countries reported increases relative to 2014. The largest increases in port freight activity were recorded by Cyprus (+42.9 %), the candidate country Montenegro (+19.8%), Slovenia (+10.7%), the candidate country Turkey (+8.7%), and Portugal (+8.2%). The largest relative decreases were recorded in Estonia (−19.8%), Finland (−7.4%), and Latvia (−5.6%).

During the five-year period 2010–2015, eight maritime Member States logged decreases in port freight activity. The greatest relative decreases occurred in Estonia (−24.0%), Croatia (−22.2%), and Finland (−10.6%). Cyprus registered the largest relative increase (+47.6%), followed by Slovenia (+ 36.6%), Portugal (+31.5%), and Greece (+30.2%).

In 2015, inward movement of goods to the EU-28 countries increased to almost 2.3 billion tonnes (+0.5%), while outward movement increased to almost 1.6 billion tonnes (+2.5%). Inward movement, however, accounted for more than 59% of the total tonnage of goods handled in EU ports. Liquid bulk goods, (e.g. crude oil and oil products) made up a large percentage of the inward tonnage.

In 2015, liquid bulk goods accounted for 38% of all cargo handled in the main EU ports, followed by dry bulk goods (23%), goods in containers (21%), and goods transported on Ro-Ro mobile units (12%). The Netherlands handled the largest volumes of liquid bulk goods (278 million tonnes), followed by the UK (194 million tonnes) and Italy (186 million tonnes). The highest share of liquid bulk goods as a percentage of the total tonnages passing through its main ports was recorded by Estonia, reflecting the large outward movement of oil products to the USA.

EU maritime freight transportThe port of Rotterdam led the top five ports for liquid bulk goods with 134,511 tonnes in 2015. Antwerp (41,607 tonnes), Marseille (32,911 tonnes), Trieste (31,663 tonnes), and Le Havre (25,916 tonnes) completed the top-five list.

The largest volume of dry bulk goods in the EU maritime freight transport countries was handled by Dutch ports (144 million tonnes). The UK was second with 104 million tonnes. The candidate country Turkey with 159 million tonnes, however, surpassed both the Netherlands and the UK in the tonnages of dry bulk goods handled. Romania had the highest share of dry bulk goods as a percentage of the total tonnages in 2015, mainly reflecting large volumes of outward movements of agricultural products from its ports.

In addition to leading the top five ports for liquid bulk goods, the port of Rotterdam led the top five ports for dry bulk goods with 19,856 tonnes. Amsterdam (10,976 tonnes), the Turkish city of Iskenderun (8,394 tonnes), Hamburg (7,896 tonnes), and Constanta (Romania, 7,665 tonnes) completed the top-five list.

It should be noted that more seaborne goods are unloaded from vessels than are loaded onto vessels in most EU countries. In 2015, Malta and the Netherlands had the greatest shares of unloaded goods with 92% and 68%, respectively, of the total tonnes of seaborne goods recorded as inward movements to their ports. In contrast, large shares of outward movements of goods were experienced by Romania, Bulgaria, the three Baltic countries, Norway, and the candidate country Montenegro.

Are you curious to find out more about maritime freight transport data in a particular port in an EU Member State? Then the EMODnet Human Activities portal is the answer. The map portal enables you to “see” all the underlying data in a dynamic and user-friendly way, through an interactive map. You have a multitude of options, in how to display and interrogate particular data. Furthermore, the EMODnet Human Activities portal harmonises data on a yearly basis, and displays both historic, as well as current activities.

EU maritime freight transport

The information and views set out in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on the European Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information therein.

August 21st, 2017 | Written by

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