GENEVA: The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says world seaborne shipments grew 3.8 percent in 2013 to nearly 9.6 billion tons. Much of the expansion was driven by a 5.6 percent growth in dry cargo, particularly bulk commodities.
With world container port throughput also increasing 5.6 percent last year to 651.1 million TEUs, UNCTAD's latest Review of Maritime Transport notes developing countries' share of port volume grew 7.2 percent, up from 5.2 percent in 2012, while Asian ports continue to dominate the league table for throughput and terminal efficiency.
At the same time it says terminal operators closely linked to shipping lines have sold facilities while traditional operators, such as DP World and Stevedoring Services of America, have attempted to strengthen their position via investment.
The report says 2013 was "marked by another gloomy and volatile" market as rates for dry bulk, tanker and liner shipping reached a 10-year low. UNCTAD cites "stumbling growth" in the world economy, weak or hesitant demand and persistent supply overcapacity.
The world maritime fleet totaled 1.69 billion dwt. in January 2014, a rise of 4.1 percent growth over 2013. Bulk carriers accounted for 42.9 percent, followed by oil tankers (28.5 percent) and container ships (12.8 percent). For the first time since 2008, the global order book increased slightly for most vessel types.
The report says Panama, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore account for 56.5 percent of total maritime vessel registrations.