• International maritime trade, percentage annual change (Chart: Unctad secretariat).


Artikel Nummer: 43135

Unctad: e-commerce driving maritime

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has published its flagship "Review of Maritime Transport 2022". For 2022, Unctad projects global maritime trade growth to moderate to 1.4%. Asia remained the world’s leading maritime cargo handling centre in 2021, accounting for 42% of exports and 64% imports.


For the period 2023-2027, maritime trade is expected to expand at an annual average of 2.1%, which is a slower rate than the previous three-decade average of 3.3%.


Shamika Sirimanne, the director of Unctad's division on technology and logistics, said that "the pressure from e-commerce is a new phenomenon which is here to stay." Coincidentally with a surge in demand, the logistics supply constraints pushed container spot freight rates to five times their pre-pandemic levels in 2021, reaching a historical peak in early 2022 and still 40% above pre-pandemic levels. Although dropping, rates remain high especially for oil and natural gas tanker cargo due to the ongoing energy crisis.


Vertical integration in the carrier sector is a growing concern, with the possible scenario of getting the market down to four big players in the future. On the other hand, Jan Hoffmann, head of the trade logistics segment, said that "we are maybe seeing the end of the vicious circle" with carriers not pushing the size of container vessels to a level beyond 24'000 teu of capacity.


Despite a high number of container newbuilds, the report also raises concern over the increasing average age of ships. By number of ships, the current average age is 21.9 years, and by carrying capacity 11.5 years. (cd)




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