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Seaborne Trade Expands for Second Straight Year

Global Seaborne Trade Expands for Second Straight Year, UN Reports

New York, Nov 16 2006 4:00PM

Global seaborne trade, measured by tons of goods loaded, expanded by 3.8 per cent in 2005, the second consecutive year of increase and is expected to grow at roughly the same rate in 2006, according to the United Nations Review of Maritime Transport.

The global total for 2005 was 7.11 billion tons. The expansion was about one-fifth lower than the 4.1 per cent increase of 2004, but there was a significant rise among developing countries, which experienced a growth rate of 6.2 per cent. Developed nations saw a growth of 2.7 per cent.

Maritime activity, as measured in ton-miles, increased in 2005 to 29,045 billion ton-miles, up from 27,635 billion ton-miles in 2004.

The Review is compiled by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which was established in 1964 to promote the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, undertakes research and policy analysis and provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries.

There was a significant increase in the world’s merchant fleet, which grew to 960 million deadweight tons (dwt) by the beginning of 2006, an increase of 7.2 per cent, the highest expansion in merchant ship capacity since 1989, when the fleet began its recovery from the 1980s shipping slump.

But the main operational productivity indicators for the world fleet in 2005 – tons carried per dwt and thousands of ton-miles per dwt – were 7.4 and 30.3 cent respectively, marginal decreases from 2004.

During the period 2003-2005, the economic performance of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa remained below that recorded by developing economies as a whole. In 2005, the total tonnage of the African merchant fleet, including the open registry of Liberia, reached 98,563 thousand dwt, or 10.3 per cent of the world total.

The share of Sub-Saharan African countries in the African merchant fleet, excluding major open registry, increased to 41.7 per cent. The average age of African developing countries’ merchant fleet, not taking into account major open registry, is 20.5 years, considerably older than the world average.


ENDS

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