New Low in Sea Trade Growth

Seaborne shipments passed 10 billion tons for the first time ever in 2015, up 2.1 percent from 9.8 billion tons the year before, the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2016 says. Shipping carried more than 80 percent of the world’s goods by volume in 2015.

Shipping of oil recorded its best performance since 2008, but limited growth of dry bulk commodity trade, in particular coal and iron ore, and poor performance of container shipping, which carries about 95 percent of the world’s manufactured goods.

Despite this slow growth, the industry’s carrying capacity continued to grow, jumping 3.5 percent to 1.8 billion deadweight tons in 2015 and pushing freight rates down to record lows.

Developing countries account for 60 percent of the goods loaded onto ships in 2015. In the same year, their share of goods unloaded was 62 percent, up from 41 percent in 2006.