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Review of Maritime Transport 2013

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As in previous issues since 1968, the 2013 Review of Maritime Transport contains a wealth of analysis and unique data. The Review is the renowned United Nations source of statistics and analysis on seaborne trade, the world fleet, freight costs, port traffic and the latest trends in the legal and regulatory environment for international maritime transport. This year’s Review includes the 10 year time series of unique data on liner shipping connectivity. Underlining recent research that suggests that containerization had a stronger impact on driving globalization than trade liberalization, the Review discusses global developments in containership deployment, and then looks at trends liner shipping connectivity in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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Developments in international seaborne trade

While the reorientation of global production and trade continues, with developing countries contributing larger shares to world economic output and trade, the performance of the global economy and merchandise trade in 2012 is a reminder of the high level of global economic integration and interdependence. In 2012, growth in world gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated to 2.2 per cent from 2.8 per cent recorded in the previous year. In tandem, and reflecting a simultaneous drop in import demand of both developed and developing economies, the growth of global merchandise trade volumes also decelerated to 1.8 per cent year-on-year. The knock-on effects of the problems in the European Union on developing economies are tangible, while the slowdown in larger developing economies, notably China and India, is resonating in other developing regions and low-income countries. Meanwhile, and driven in particular by a rise in China’s domestic demand as well as increased intra-Asian and South–South trade, international seaborne trade performed relatively well, with volumes increasing by 4.3 per cent during the year. The performance of international seaborne trade remains, nevertheless, vulnerable to downside risks and uncertainty affecting the world economy and trade. It is also unfolding against a background of an evolving maritime transport operating landscape that entails some potentially game-changing trends and developments.

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