Water Transport

Statistics and Market Data on Maritime, Nautical & Shipbuilding

Water Transport statistics In this section, Statista presents the most relevant and up-to-date facts relating to maritime and inland waterway navigation. This category comprises the movement of cargo by ships and barges. Passenger ship travel is included in the ‘travel, tourism and hospitality’ category.


Rivers, lakes and oceans are teeming with millions of ships, traveling the commerce routes between important trade partners. On a global scale, the busiest ports are located in Asia, the largest ones being Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The Port of Los Angeles and the adjoining Port of Long Beach together form the largest port outside of Asia. The world’s merchant fleet includes crude oil tankers, bulk carriers, container ships and general cargo ships. Copenhagen-based AP Møller-Mærsk is the world’s largest shipper, based on revenue and capacity. The company owns ships with a capacity of about 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units*. The company’s largest ships were built in South Korea, one of the world’s key shipbuilding nations.

As of late, tankers and container ships have come under threat from maritime piracy. The trade routes around the east African and Indonesian coasts are counted among the most perilous sea paths globally.

* Twenty-foot equivalent units (or TEUs) are the industry’s standard unit of measure, denoting the capacity of a standard freight container.

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