Inland navigation - tonne-kilometres

  • Inland navigation vessels account for almost 4.3 billion tonne-kilometres

    In 2020, just under 4.3 billion tonne-kilometres were covered across Flemish waterways by inland navigation vessels. Tonne-kilometre is a unit of measurement that combines weight and distance. For example, transporting 2 tonnes across a 2-kilometre distance represents 4 tonne-kilometres.

    In 2020, the number of tonne-kilometres covered was 1% lower than the year before.

  • Almost 7 out of 10 of shipped goods are dry bulk

    Transport via inland navigation is broken down into 5 packaging types. The largest portion of the goods carried by inland waterway was dry bulk (67%) in 2020. These are goods that are not packed and are poured in large quantities into the hold of a vessel, such as coal, iron ore, cereals, sand or gravel.

    A smaller part of goods was shipped as liquid bulk (19%). Examples include oil or fruit juice.
    Container transport accounted for 14% of all goods. Inland navigation by container has risen sharply in recent years.

    Finally, there is the transport of palleted goods and transport of goods in gaseous state. Both represent a very small portion of the total goods transported by inland navigation.


Data room of Mobility and Public Works Policy Area (Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken MOW): Number of tonne-kilometres carried by waterway 

Publication date

15 February 2021

Next update

March 2022

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