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Global maritime trade will grow 4% in 2018


Review of Maritime Transport 2018 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (CNUCYD)

According to the most recent report “Review of Maritime Transport 2018” of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (CNUCYD), global maritime trade will grow an additional 4% during 2018 – the highest growth in the last five years – , while the projected annual growth rate at 2023 is 3.8%.

It is expected that volumes in all segments will grow, with the exchange of containerized commodities and dry bulk marking the best performances. Tanker trade volumes are also projected to grow, albeit at a slower pace than other markets, a trend consistent with other historical patterns.

Improvements in the market

Market conditions have improved, with notable advances in China, the European Union, Brazil and Russia, mainly leading. This growth has boosted maritime trade in different areas. The CNUCYD estimates maritime cargo volumes at 10.7 billion tons in 2017, driven by dry bulk commodities – coal, iron ore and grains, which marked 42.3% of the total dry cargo transported in 2017. In part, containerized bulk trade and minor bulk represented 24.3% and 25.4%, specifically, of the total dry cargo transported last year.

An evolving market

However, despite improvements in international market conditions, the CNUCYD warns that it is important to take certain precautions, due to the uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of the industry’s recovery. Much of that uncertainty comes from the confluence of geopolitical, economic and commercial risks and structural changes such as the rebalancing of the Chinese economy, lower growth of global value chains and changes in the global energy landscape.

Greater economic activity worldwide is boosting maritime trade, which is finally seeing an improvement in the crisis of a decade ago. Therefore, the evolution of factors such as digitization, consolidation of the shipping market and the impact of new environmental regulations and the use of fuels require constant monitoring, as the risks are still unknown in the face of a changing scenario.

Daniel Bosch Wood

Maritimist Lawyer

LLM Southampton

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria