Per type of goods

The analysis of the traffic per type of good requires classification logic to differentiate the segments transported. A revised classification called NST/R has been set up by Eurostat since 2007 to characterize the different types of goods transported in inland navigation. This logic is applied by the customs authorities in the different EU countries and distinguishes between the 10 types of goods.

NST Classification to download

Due to the deep reshape of this classification in 2007 in comparison with the previous one (NST 2007), it has to be said that the temporal analysis for goods traffic in inland navigation in Europe is complicated. A comparison with the previous year between NST 2007 and NST/R is not feasible for all segments. This issue particularly affects agricultural and forestry products as well as food and feedstuffs.

For that reason, the presentation of the 3 following goods categories appear more relevant to understand the market trends:

  • dry cargo goods
  • tanker goods
  • containers

Split of the goods transported on the Rhine between the 3 market segments of inland navigation in 2014 (in % of the tonnage)

Source: calculations of the CCNR


Split of the dry cargo segment per type of goods transported between 2002 and 2013 in %

Source: calculations of the CCNR


Split of the tanker segment per type of goods transported between 2002 and 2013 in %

Source: calculations of the CCNR


Traffic of containers presents an important potential for inland navigation and experienced the last years a significant growth.

Severe low water periods increase freight rates for full containers in the form of low water supplements, resulting in a price disadvantage relative to rail. Low water supplements can increase to as much as 50 – 60% of the freight costs. The railways benefited from this by capturing numerous transport movements of loaded containers from inland navigation during this period.

By contrast, the price of transporting empty containers is less sensitive to falling water levels so that transportation prices here rose by a lesser amount. In addition, in view of the fall off inloaded containers, many carriers switched to transporting empty containers.

 Containers transport per year on the Rhine in Miot

Source: calculations of the CCNR