Sea freight volume in EU 2000-2018

The volume of maritime freight was steadily growing between 2000 and 2018, except for a dip in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The year 2018 saw the highest volume of sea freight transported in the recorded period, reaching some 979 billion tonne kilometers. This represented almost a seven percent increase over the previous year.

Leading European cargo ports

In 2018, the most seaborne cargo was handled in the ports in Rotterdam, Antwerpen, and Hamburg, making them the backbone of the maritime trade in Europe. Just the Port of Rotterdam alone accounted for nine percent of the total tonnage of cargo handled in all European ports.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak dealt a significant blow to the global economy, leading to an estimated GDP decline of 4.5 percent, negatively affecting many industries and disrupting supply chains. Maritime transport industry is no exception. The global sea freight forwarding market is estimated to contract by between 1.1 and 7.3 percent compared to 2019, depending on the severity of the pandemic and subsequent measures adopted by governments. The European market is projected to suffer even more; it could contract by between 2.4 and 8.2 percent.

Sea freight volume in EU from 2000 to 2018

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Survey time period

2000 to 2018

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