Market Insight
SPRING 2017

Annual report
Year 2017

The Market Insight Fall 2017 report is not yet available and will be published in November 2017
The Market Insight Winter 2017-2018 report is not yet available and will be published in February 2018

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Fleet size evolution

 

 

  • 73% of the European fleet are dry cargo barges and self-propelled dry cargo vessels (-2.8%) decrease in the number of vessels operating in Western Europe 2016 vs. 2015

 

 

  • In Europe, there are more than 13 500 vessels offering inland freight transport services (dry cargo, tanker cargo and push & tug vessels) with a total loading capacity of 17 Mio tonnes. About 74% of the European fleet comes from Rhine countries. The main sector of activity is dry cargo ; 73% of the European fleet operate in this segment.

 

 

Rhine countries

 

 

  • In 2016, more than half of the existing fleet was registered in the Netherlands. The German fleet amounted to 25%.
  • The majority of vessels operate in the dry cargo sector except in Switzerland and Luxembourg where respectively more tanker and passenger vessels operate.

 

 

Evolution of the fleet in Rhine countries (number of dry cargo, tanker cargo and push & tug vessels)

Source : National Offices, CCNR calculation. *Germany : data for 2015

 

 

  • In the last decade, the evolution of the Rhine fleet has been marked by a reduction in the total number of vessels operating in the market (-12%) but an increase in the available loading capacity (20%). This means that newly built vessels in the IWT sector, particularly between the years 2007 and 2009, were built with higher loading capacity.
  • From 2015 to 2016, there was also a decrease in the total Rhine fleet (-2.8%), mainly influenced by the reduction in the number of French vessels (-15%) and Dutch vessels (-1%) in the dry cargo sector. The available loading capacity fell (-1.4%) as small and medium size vessels left the market.

 

 

Evolution of the dry cargo fleet in Rhine countries

Source : National Offices, CCNR calculation. Note : 2015 data taken into account for Germany due to unavailability of 2016 data

 

 

  • In the dry cargo segment, the number of vessels decreased over the last decade (-16%) mainly due to smaller vessels leaving the market in Germany, France and Belgium. The available loading capacity increased (13%) over the period, reaching 10.3 Mio tonnes in 2016.

 

 

Evolution of the tanker cargo fleet in Rhine countries

Source : National Offices, CCNR calculation. *Germany : data for 2015

 

 

  • In tanker shipping, the total number of vessels decreased from 2010 onwards (-13%) in all countries. However, the loading capacity increased over the last decade (+49%), reaching 3 Mio tonnes in 2016. Larger vessels have been built during this period.
  • Due to new safety regulations along the Rhine, tanker vessels should have double hulls by the end of 2018. Thus, some of the existing single hull vessels left the market during the period, which is the main reason for the overall tanker fleet drop. In 2011, about 60% of the fleet were double hull vessels but, in 2017, this percentage has increased to 82%.

 

 

Evolution of the push & tug fleet in Rhine countries

Source : National Offices, CCNR calculation. *Germany : data for 2015 ; France: data not included

 

 

  • The push & tug fleet remained almost stable at about 1 200 vessels over a decade, regarding all Rhine countries fleet except France. It particularly fell in Germany (-7%) and Belgium (-31%) from 2008 onwards.

 

 

Danube countries

 

 

  • Romania has the largest fleet of the Danube countries which amounts to 44% of the total Danube fleet.

 

 

Evolution of the fleet in Danube countries (number of dry cargo, tanker cargo and push & tug vessels)

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

  • In the last decade, the number of vessels operating in the Danube area decreased (-9%) but at a lower rate than in Rhine countries (-12%). The available loading capacity also fell (-16%) so that the average tonnage remained stable at about 1 000t per vessel.
  • From 2014 to 2015, there was a slight increase in the total Danube fleet (1.3%), mainly influenced by the new vessel construction in Romania (+5%) in all sectors of activity. The available loading capacity fell (-0.5%), mainly due to the Ukrainian vessels that left the market.

 

 

Evolution of the dry cargo fleet in Danube countries

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

  • The transport of dry goods is the dominant market with about 74% of the fleet operating in this sector. However, in Hungary and Austria more than 70% of the companies operate in passenger transport.
  • In the dry cargo sector, there was a (-13%) decrease in the total number of vessels in the last decade, especially remarkable from 2011 onwards. This fall was particularly relevant in Ukraine (-48%) and Hungary (-29%); however, the Romanian fleet grew (21%) over the period. The loading capacity available decreased about 730 thousand tonnes over the decade. In 2015, most of the existing dry cargo fleet were barges, representing from 73% to 90% of the total dry cargo fleet in each country.

 

 

Evolution of the tanker cargo fleet in Danube countries

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

  • The tanker sector was dominated by the Romanian fleet which increased by 57% in a decade. In general, the evolution was positive for all countries except for Ukraine and Hungary, but the tanker cargo market continues to have a low market share. The total loading capacity gradually increased in a decade (+40%), reaching 222 thousand tonnes in 2015.

 

 

Evolution of the push & tug fleet in Danube countries

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

  • The number of push & tug vessels slightly decreased from 2010 onwards mainly due to the reduction in the Ukrainian (-25%) and Hungarian (-27%) fleet. From 2014 to 2015, the total number of vessels recovered because of the building of new vessels in Romania (+20%).

 

 

Comparison between Rhine and Danube structure of the fleet (2015)

 

 

  • The structure of the fleet in Rhine and Danube countries is similar since most of the vessels transport dry cargo bulk. In 2015, a total of about 7 300 and 2 600 dry cargo vessels operated in the Rhine and Danube countries respectively. In tanker shipping, the structure differs slightly. As the sector has more activity in the Rhine region, more vessels operate in this area (15%). About 1 550 tanker vessels were active on the Rhine as compared to 216 vessels operating in the Danube area. The push & tug fleet represented a higher percentage than tanker vessels in the Danube fleet structure, showing that the dry cargo sector is still a predominant market.

 

 

Rhine structure of the fleet

Source : National Offices

 

 

Danube structure of the fleet

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

 

 

Fleet structure analysis

 

 

  • 1965 and 1979 are the average years of construction for a dry cargo and a tanker cargo vessel in Rhine countries

 

 

Rhine countries

 

 

  • The Western European market is characterized by a relatively old fleet. In Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, about half of the active IWT vessels were built more than 50 years ago. In France, these vessels represent approximately 80% of the total fleet. There are still some vessels (15% of the European fleet) which were built more than 75 years ago, particularly present in the Netherlands and Germany.
  • Switzerland is the country that has the newest fleet (87% of the vessels were built in the last 35 years) which is mainly due to a wave of new river cruise vessels in the years 2010-2016. The Luxembourg fleet is also quite modern (65% of the vessels were built in the last 35 years) but the new vessels were mainly in tanker shipping.

 

 

The Rhine fleet by sector of activity and year of construction (number of vessels)

Source : IVR, CCNR calculation Note: Rhine fleet meaning here the fleet registered in Rhine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland)

The Rhine fleet by sector of activity and year of construction (number of vessels)

Source : IVR, CCNR calculation Note: Rhine fleet meaning here the fleet registered in Rhine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland)

The Rhine fleet by sector of activity and year of construction (number of vessels)

Source : IVR, CCNR calculation Note: Rhine fleet meaning here the fleet registered in Rhine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland)

The Rhine fleet by sector of activity and year of construction (number of vessels)

Source : IVR, CCNR calculation Note: Rhine fleet meaning here the fleet registered in Rhine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland)

 

 

 

  • The average year of construction is 1965 for a dry cargo vessel and 1979 for a tanker cargo vessel. In passenger shipping, although new vessels were built in the last years, the average year of construction is 1959. For push & tug vessels, the average year is also 1959.
  • In tanker shipping, a great number of new motor vessels came into the market in the last years and new construction is expected in the following years. The reason behind this is that most chemical companies, such as BP or Shell, only sign contracts with vessels that are less than 25 years old due to quality and safety reasons. This would explain why 37% of the tanker cargo fleet is less than 20 years old.
  • With respect to tanker cargo barges, the year structure differs. About 36% of them were built more than 70 years ago and only 7% of them are less than 20 years old.
  • In the dry cargo segment, which is characterized by a large number of small family businesses, the number of newly built vessels is much lower than in the tanker cargo sector. About 43% of the fleet was built between 1940 and 1970 and only 15% of the vessels are less than 20 years old.
  • In passenger shipping, there is a large number of vessels, mainly river cruise vessels, which were built between 1876 and 1930 and represent about 31% of the fleet.  However, new cruise vessels appeared in recent years; about 8% of them were built from 2009 onwards.

 

Danube countries

 

 

  • In the Eastern European market, some differences can be found between countries characterized by an older fleet (Croatia, Moldova and Hungary) and countries with a newer fleet (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia).

 

 

The Danube fleet by year of construction (% based on number of vessels)

Source : Danube Commission

 

 

  • In Danube Countries, the percentage of the oldest vessels (those which were built more than 75 years ago) is much lower than in Rhine countries, representing only 2% of the total fleet.
  • In Croatia and Moldova, the structure of the fleet by year of construction is quite similar. The majority of vessels were built between 1941 and 1970.
  • In Hungary, half of the fleet is older than 45 years.
  • In Bulgaria and Romania, about half of the fleet was built in the last three decades. In these countries, most of the companies operate in freight transport, and their vessels are relatively newer compared to the dry cargo fleet in Rhine countries.
  • Ukraine and Slovakia have the newest fleet; most of the existing vessels are less than 30 years old.

 

 

 

 

New vessel construction

 

 

  • In 2016, the new tonnage added to the market was about 22% higher than in 2015
  • In the last years, a new construction wave caused an overcapacity of larger vessels which was clearly revealed when the economic crisis hit major parts of the IWT sector. During these years, freight flows significantly decreased whilst the fleet was still expanding.

 

 

Construction of new vessels in Rhine countries (number of vessels)

Source : IVR

 

 

  • Most of the new construction occurred in the Netherlands (65%). The extension in the port of Rotterdam and the good results of the container transport encouraged companies to order new vessels before the crisis. However, most of them came into the market in 2009.

 

 

Newly built vessels in dry and tanker cargo sectors (tonnage 1000 t)

Source : IVR

 

 

  • In relation with the wave of construction of new vessels in the Netherlands, the loading capacity of the dry cargo new vessels tripled from 2006 to 2009. In new tanker cargo vessels, the growth was even higher, as the loading capacity was five times higher in 2010 than in 2007. After the crisis started, less capacity was added to the IWT market.
  • In the dry cargo segment, 14 new vessels were introduced in Western Europe in 2016, with a total tonnage of 50 000 tonnes. Out of these 14, half of them were for container transport (two push convoys and five self-propelled vessels); the other new vessels were five self-propelled dry cargo vessels and two self-propelled vessels specialized for the transport of sand.
  • In 2015, there had been nine new dry cargo and container vessels, with a total tonnage of 31,517 tonnes. Therefore, the year 2016 brought a small net increase.
  • Twenty new tanker vessels for goods transport and three new bunkering vessels came into the market in 2016, with a total loading capacity of 51 000 tonnes (without the bunkering vessels). Included in those was the world’s most environmentally friendly inland vessel (ECOLINER), and also the world’s biggest tanker vessel for bitumen transport (LAPRESTA).
  • This was a rather strong reduction compared to 2015, when vessels with a loading capacity of 89 000 tonnes had been put into service.
  • In 2016, five new push & tug boats were built. Most of them are active in the ARA region and on the Lower Rhine and only one is active in the port of Basel on the Upper Rhine.
  • In addition, two new push boats where introduced by IMPERIAL for its activities in South America.

Annual report
Year 2017

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