Containerized cargo flows 2019, by trade route

Over 30 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo are expected to be transported across the Pacific Ocean in 2019, making Trans-Pacific routes the largest shipping zone in terms of load size. As a result of growing globalization, the volume of seaborne trade reached some 11 billion metric tons in 2016.

Trade boom in Asia

Asian economies are experiencing a boom. They are home to the world's leading container ports. The largest container ship fleets worldwide are also registered here.

Trade and pollution

Although seaborne freight is still widely regarded as one of the most efficient modes of transport with regards to weight to carbon dioxide emissions, it is also apparent that large, diesel engine-propelled ships contribute to the increased production of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), as well as other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide. Maritime transport produces 2.6 percent of global CO2 emissions, the majority of which is caused by three major ship classes: container ships, bulk carriers, and oil tankers. Improved efficiency of ships across nearly all class types has reduced the carbon intensity of the world’s fleet. However, CO2 emissions are increasingly produced in other areas, such as the tourism industry, where higher levels of efficiency are offset by a rise in the number of cruise liner ships.

Estimated containerized cargo flows on major container trade routes in 2019, by trade route

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Supplementary notes

The abbreviation TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent unit.

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