2018 was a bad year for river shipping in Germany

Low water levels caused record decrease in transport volume; transit slumped by more than 20 per cent

2018 was a bad year for river shipping in Germany

In 2018, the volume of goods transported on inland waterways decreased by 11.1 per cent compared with the previous year. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reports that a total of 198 million tonnes of goods were transported on German inland waterways. In 2017, the freight volume was 222.7 million tonnes.

The reason for the massive decline in freight transport was the low water levels of the main inland waterways in the second half of the year 2018.

In the first half of 2018 the transport volume of inland vessels fell only slightly by 1.1 per cent.

The months from August to November 2018 then showed double-digit declines compared to the same months of the previous year, with the biggest decline occurring in November, falling just short of 34 per cent. In December 2018, the water levels slowly returned back to normal, the decline was only 12.4 per cent that month.