river transport still in the red

river transport still in the red
river transport still in the red

The TLF union’s transport activity barometer scrutinizes the performance of each mode of goods transport in 2023. After road and rail transport, today we are looking at river freight.

In short. For river transport, fiscal year 2023 will not have been of the best vintage. With a volume, in tonne-kilometres, falling by 9 % in 2022 followed by a drop of 10 % in 2023, the sector must face an unfavorable economic context.

A bad situation which seems to be repeated so much so that river freight will have lost 24 % of its volumes between 2019 and 2023.

Shippers in difficulty. To explain this trend, the document suggests that contractors are faced with numerous difficulties: lower cereal harvests, fall in real estate construction and decline in energy-intensive industrial production.

“The river activity is enduring the degraded economic situation in its main client sectors: energy, with in particular the temporary shutdown of a blast furnace in Dunkirk, agriculture, with a poor cereal season, and construction, with a fall new projects due to high real estate loan rates”details the document.

Bad weather. At the same time, climatic conditions also influenced this deterioration in the sector’s activity. Last November, then in December, the large-gauge Dunkerque-Valenciennes canal was, in fact, temporarily closed to traffic due to locks blocked by rising waters.
“In November, around fifty boats, with a capacity of 50 000 at 55 000 tons, thus remained at the quay”explains the document.
Stable prices. On the price side, river freight experienced relative stability after a relative increase in the first quarter which resulted in an increase of 19 % over a year. A jump which did not hold for the rest of the year since in the 4th quarter of 2023, their annual change was only 0.6 %.

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