Inland water transport ("Waterborne transport")

Slight increase in inland water transport in 2020

Slight increase in inland water transport in 2020

In 2020, inland waterway vessels have transported just over 156 million tonnes of goods on Belgian inland waterways. That is about half a million tonnes more than in 2019. In 2019, however, there was an increase of 3.7 million tonnes compared to 2018.
The container transport by inland waterway vessels fluctuated around 21 million tonnes in 2020 and remained almost status quo with the previous year.

The figures for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are calculated according to a whole new method for the inland navigation of all ships on Belgian inland waterways, including those from abroad.

Quarter Transported weight Tonne-km Transported weight per container
2018/Q1 39,348,692 2,195,296,599 5,741,358
2018/Q2 40,619,511 2,214,989,836 5,678,761
2018/Q3 35,978,379 1,989,320,079 5,070,671
2018/Q4 36,025,810 2,071,363,868 4,451,900
2019/Q1 38,026,266 2,069,219,630 5,215,364
2019/Q2 39,983,550 2,095,961,191 5,461,290
2019/Q3 38,371,338 1,810,952,505 5,365,233
2019/Q4 39,314,170 1,843,019,448 5,334,016
2020/Q1 39,684,955 1,795,401,808 5,321,651
2020/Q2 38,669,948 1,806,398,556 4,951,470
2020/Q3 38,253,924 1,814,393,276 5,362,097
2020/Q4 39,522,447 1,971,835,077 5,663,688
Source (mention obligatoire) : Statbel (Direction générale Statistique - Statistics Belgium)
*TEU:Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit.

Purpose and brief description

Inland water transport according to the period, the origin, the destination, the nature of the goods and the nature of the ship. Evolution of the Belgian inland waterway fleet (number, capacity, age, etc. of ships). Evolution of the Belgian inland waterway network.


Transport of goods by inland waterway vessels between two ports of a national territory irrespective of the nationality of the vessel.



Release calendar

Availability of the results: 5 months after the reference period.


In 2007, this method was adapted to a new Eurostat regulation concerning the goods classification. Therefore, the figures for 2007 and after can no longer be compared with the previous years.

Legal reference

Commission Regulation (EC) No 425/2007 of 19 April 2007 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1365/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on statistics of goods transport by inland waterways.