Increase in volumes of seaborne goods and passengers in EU ports
According to the latest figures, the EU port freight activity seems to have started on a path towards recovery in the second half of 2013, a trend that continued throughout 2014.
Even so, the gross weight of goods handled in EU ports in 2014 was still lower than the annual volumes handled before the economic downturn in Europe in 2009.
The Netherlands remained the largest maritime freight transport country in Europe in 2014, while Rotterdam, Antwerpen, Hamburg and Amsterdam maintained their positions as the four largest ports.
The 20 largest ports accounted for about 38 % of the total tonnage of goods handled in the countries reporting data in 2014. Rotterdam alone accounted for almost 10 % of the total tonnage.
The number of passengers passing through EU ports increased 0.6 % between 2013 and 2014, to 402 million passengers.
With 75 million passengers passing through its ports, Greece was the major seaborne passenger country in Europe in 2014, overtaking Italy for the first time since 2008.
These two countries remained the leading maritime passenger transport countries in Europe in 2014, with a combined share of close to 37 % of the total number of seaborne passengers embarking and disembarking in the EU countries.
The Netherlands has recorded the largest annual tonnage of maritime freight transport in Europe every year since overtaking the United Kingdom in 2010. At close to 571 million tonnes, the volume of seaborne goods handled in Dutch ports in 2014 represented 15 % of the EU-28 total.
The Netherlands was followed by the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy, with shares of 13.3 % and 11.7 % of the EU total, respectively. ■