Edition 2022

Foto omschrijving: Aerial view of bridges across the river Waal, near Zaltbommel.

How are goods transported through the Netherlands?

In 2020, a total of 1.7 billion tonnes of goods, packaging material included, were transported over Dutch territory and Dutch territorial waters. This is about the same weight as the water in 678 full Olympic swimming pools.

338 mln ton kgBinnenvaartBy inland vessel37 mln ton kg SpoorBy rail558 mln ton kgZeevaartBy seagoing vessel767 mln ton kg WegvervoerBy road1,5 mln ton kg million tonnesLuchtvaartBy air Hoe worden goederen door Nederland vervoerd?How are goods transported through the Netherlands?

Most goods are carried by trucks in road haulage; in 2020, this amounted to 767 million tonnes, which is 45 percent of the total. Seagoing vessels accounted for a third of the transport at 558 million tonnes, while inland shipping contributed a fifth of transport at 338 million tonnes. Transport by rail and by air account for 2.0 and 0.1 percent respectively of goods transport through the Netherlands.

Four types of goods transport through the Netherlands

The goods transportnoot1 on Dutch territory consists of four flows. First, goods that are loaded and unloaded in the Netherlands (domestic transport: 675 million tonnes in 2020). Second, goods that are transported from the Netherlands to other countries (transport abroad: 427 million tonnes), goods that are transported from abroad to the Netherlands (supply from abroad: 539 million tonnes) and goods that are both loaded and unloaded abroad, but are transported across Dutch territory (transit: 60 million tonnes).

82 percent domestic transport by road

In 2020, 675 million tonnes of the 1.7 billion tonnes of goods transported over Dutch territory went to and from a location in the Netherlands. This domestic transport travelled 82 percent by road, with 554 million tonnes. Transport by inland shipping comes second with 116 million tonnes, which is 17 percent. Transport by rail follows with 3 million tonnes (0.4 percent) and last is transport by seagoing vessel with 2 million tonnes (0.3 percent).

Transported weight, 2020
vervoer Road haulage Maritime transport Inland shipping Rail transport Aviation
Weight carried over Dutch territory 766.7 557.6 338.3 36.7 1.6
Weight of domestic transport 553.7 2.2 115.9 2.2 0.0

Over half is bulk transport

Over half of all goods transported through the Netherlands, i.e. 925 million tonnes, were transported in bulk unpackaged. These often involved raw materials such as petroleum, or agricultural products such as cereal. In addition, 14 percent of goods, this being 232 million tonnes, had been shipped in containers. These are usually finished products, e.g. packaged items, but also food products, agricultural products or chemical products. The rest was transported on pallets or involved cabled transport, for example.

Most goods transport to and from Groot-Rijnmond

In 2020, most goods that were being loaded or unloaded in the Netherlands, went from and to the regions of Groot-Rijnmond, Greater Amsterdam, West Noord-Brabant, Noordoost-Noord-Brabant, Overig Zeeland and Utrecht. The Groot-Rijnmond region had by far the most weight loaded and unloaded, namely 334 million tonnes loaded and 406 million tonnes unloaded. This region is home to the Port of Rotterdam. Second comes the Greater Amsterdam region, with the Amsterdam port, where 97 million tonnes had been loaded and 119 million tonnes unloaded.

This does not include transit (60 million tonnes), as this transport does not involve loading or unloading in the Netherlands. The goods can be transhipped after unloading to be transported to other countries within or outside Europe. The region where loading or unloading takes place therefore need not be the original starting point or final destination.

Gross weight of transported goods loaded in a COROP region, 2020
Coropnaam Gross weight loaded
Oost-Groningen 6
Delfzijlenomgeving 11
OverigGroningen 13
Noord-Friesland 15
Zuidwest-Friesland 7
Zuidoost-Friesland 9
Noord-Drenthe 9
Zuidoost-Drenthe 10
Zuidwest-Drenthe 8
Noord-Overijssel 23
Zuidwest-Overijssel 7
Twente 22
Veluwe 26
Achterhoek 18
Arnhem/Nijmegen 29
Zuidwest-Gelderland 21
Utrecht 33
KopvanNoord-Holland 13
Alkmaarenomgeving 4
IJmond 11
AgglomeratieHaarlem 1
Zaanstreek 7
Groot-Amsterdam 97
HetGooienVechtstreek 2
AgglomeratieLeidenenBollenstreek 10
Agglomeratie's-Gravenhage 7
DelftenWestland 12
Oost-Zuid-Holland 14
Groot-Rijnmond 334
Zuidoost-Zuid-Holland 18
Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen 21
OverigZeeland 38
West-Noord-Brabant 49
Midden-Noord-Brabant 20
Noordoost-Noord-Brabant 38
Zuidoost-Noord-Brabant 31
Noord-Limburg 32
Midden-Limburg 15
Zuid-Limburg 30
Flevoland 24
Gross transported weight unloaded in COROP regions, 2020
Coropnaam Gross weight unloaded
Oost-Groningen 6
Delfzijlenomgeving 11
OverigGroningen 18
Noord-Friesland 16
Zuidwest-Friesland 8
Zuidoost-Friesland 11
Noord-Drenthe 10
Zuidoost-Drenthe 9
Zuidwest-Drenthe 8
Noord-Overijssel 24
Zuidwest-Overijssel 7
Twente 21
Veluwe 30
Achterhoek 18
Arnhem/Nijmegen 27
Zuidwest-Gelderland 21
Utrecht 38
KopvanNoord-Holland 14
Alkmaarenomgeving 6
IJmond 7
AgglomeratieHaarlem 2
Zaanstreek 8
Groot-Amsterdam 119
HetGooienVechtstreek 5
AgglomeratieLeidenenBollenstreek 12
Agglomeratie's-Gravenhage 10
DelftenWestland 13
Oost-Zuid-Holland 14
Groot-Rijnmond 406
Zuidoost-Zuid-Holland 22
Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen 14
OverigZeeland 40
West-Noord-Brabant 50
Midden-Noord-Brabant 22
Noordoost-Noord-Brabant 38
Zuidoost-Noord-Brabant 33
Noord-Limburg 29
Midden-Limburg 16
Zuid-Limburg 23
Flevoland 20

The questions


Goods transport

Packaging material is included in the transported weight in this section. The figures therefore differ slightly from those on StatLine, which presents the gross-plus weight, i.e. the transported weight including packaging materials and the transport unit.


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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Hendrik Zuidhoek

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie


Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Ronald van der Bie

Sidney Vergouw



Gabriëlle de Vet

Frans Dinnissen

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.