Review of Maritime Transport

2225-3459 (online)
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The Review of Maritime Transport is an UNCTAD flagship publication, published annually since 1968. Around 80 per cent of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries. The Review of Maritime Transport provides an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistical information.
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Review of Maritime Transport 2017

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22 Dec 2017
9789213628089 (PDF)

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With over 80 per cent of global trade by volume and more than 70 per cent of its value being carried on board ships and handled by seaports worldwide, the importance of maritime transport for trade and development cannot be overemphasized. The 2017 Review of Maritime Transport presents and discusses key developments in the world economy and international trade and related impacts on shipping demand and supply, freight and charter markets, as well as seaports and the regulatory and legal framework. In addition to relevant developments in 2016 and the first half of 2017, this year’s edition of the Review also features a special chapter on maritime transport connectivity, reflecting the prominence of physical and electronic connectivity as a priority area in the trade and development policy agenda.

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  • Note

    The Review of Maritime Transport is a recurrent publication prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat since 1968 with the aim of fostering the transparency of maritime markets and analysing relevant developments. Any factual or editorial corrections that may prove necessary, based on comments made by Governments, will be reflected in a corrigendum to be issued subsequently.

  • Acknowledgements

    Preparation of the Review of Maritime Transport 2017 was coordinated by Jan Hoffmann under the overall guidance of Shamika N. Sirimanne. Administrative support and formatting were provided by Wendy Juan. Contributors were Regina Asariotis, Mark Assaf, Hassiba Benamara, Marco Fugazza, Jan Hoffmann, Anila Premti, Luisa Rodríguez, Pamela Ugaz, Mathis Weller and Frida Youssef.

  • Abbreviations
  • Explanatory notes

    The Review of Maritime Transport 2017 covers data and events from January 2016 until June 2017. Where possible, every effort has been made to reflect more recent developments.

  • Executive summary

    With over 80 per cent of global trade by volume and more than 70 per cent of its value being carried on board ships and handled by seaports worldwide, the importance of maritime transport for trade and development cannot be overemphasized. Recognizing the sector’s strategic function, the global policy framework under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underscores the role of trade – and by extension, seaborne trade – as an engine for inclusive and sustainable growth and development.

  • Developments in international seaborne trade

    In 2016, the maritime transport sector continued to face the prolonged effects of the economic downturn of 2009. Seaborne trade remained under pressure owing to continued weak global demand and heightened uncertainty stemming from factors such as trade policy and low commodity and oil prices. Moreover, several trends with relevant implications for maritime transport continued to gradually unfold and raise attention, in particular digitalization, the rapid expansion of electronic commerce (e-commerce) and growing concentration in the liner shipping market.

  • Structure, ownership and registration of the world fleet

    The world shipping fleet provides not only transport connectivity to global trade but also livelihoods to the people working in maritime businesses in developed and developing countries. At the beginning of 2017, the world fleet’s commercial value amounted to $829 billion, with different countries benefiting from the building, owning, flagging, operation and scrapping of ships.

  • Freight rates and maritime transport costs

    As in 2015, the shipping industry faced continued challenges in most segments in 2016, owing to the persistent mismatch between supply capacity and demand. With global demand for seaborne trade remaining uncertain, freight rates continued to be determined by the way supply capacity management was being handled.

  • Ports
  • Legal issues and regulatory developments

    Along with economic benefits and connectivity and efficiency-related benefits from the use of new technologies, maritime shipping faces complex challenges, including cybersecurity threats and risks. Improved understanding and awareness raising is important, and relevant international regulations, including recent IMO guidelines on maritime cybersecurity risk management, as well as industry best practices, guidance and standards aimed at effectively addressing related vulnerabilities and threats, may be noted.

  • Maritime transport connectivity

    Globalized production, trade, communication and finance depend on connectivity, that is, the possibilities for people, companies and countries to connect with each other. UNCTAD has led the research on shipping connectivity since the first publication of the liner shipping connectivity index in 2004.

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