Ocean Shipping - Statistics & Facts

The international seaborne trade volume has been on an increasing trend in recent years. However, in 2018, the maritime trade volume grew only by 2.7 percent on the previous year, down from the 4.1 percent registered in 2017. Further slowdown is expected to occur in 2020, as shipping companies will incur further costs to comply new International Maritime Organization’s sulfur cap regulations. At the same time, the trade and supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reverberate across the global economy.

Aside from being home to the busiest container ports worldwide, China is also the global leader in shipbuilding, exporting mainly bulk carriers, oil carriers, and container ships. Over the past years, the demand for container ships of increasingly larger size has been going up. It is expected that the higher capacity of container ships will lead to a smaller number of ships in the worldwide fleet. By December 2020, the projected worldwide number of container ships is estimated to be around 5,000.

As the size of container ships increases, so does the size of their engines. Machinery failures, including engine failures, account for over ten percent of the marine insurance claims in terms of value. However, they only account for three percent of the number of claims, fewer than those caused by crime such as piracy attacks. The number of actual and attempted piracy attacks decreased in 2019 compared to the previous year, with Nigeria and Indonesia being the main hotspots.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 38 most important statistics relating to "Ocean Shipping".

Ocean shipping worldwide

Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!

Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Ocean Shipping" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Merchant Fleet


Ship Operators



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