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Ocean shipping worldwide - statistics & facts

Ocean shipping is an integral part of the supply chain for most industries, making it a backbone of global trade. Between 2013 and 2019, both the capacity of the global merchant fleet and the volume of seaborne trade increased significantly. During this time span, the volume of goods carried by ships rose by almost 35 percent, while the combined capacity of merchant ships grew by around 17 percent. Today, it is estimated that an overwhelming majority of goods, around 80 percent, are transported by ships.

That said, in 2018 the volume of maritime trade grew by around 2.7 percent compared with the previous year and in 2019 the growth reached just 0.5 percent. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the year 2020 is expected to see a contraction in the volume of seaborne trade. In 2020, the volume should shrink by around four percent compared with 2019. The only other time when the volume of maritime trade contracted year-on-year occurred in 2009 as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Impact of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to supply chains worldwide, leading to plummeting cargo volumes. Blank sailings increased by some 200 percent in February 2020 compared with the previous month. The shipping industry had to adapt to this new reality, reducing vessel capacity, cutting costs, and in some cases, increasing freight rates. As the pandemic will be getting under control and supply chains are forced to become more resilient, the year 2021 should bring a better outlook for the shipping industry, promising a rebound to the 2019 volume of maritime trade.

China as the shipbuilding powerhouse

Aside from being home to the busiest container ports worldwide, China has also been the global leader in shipbuilding since 2010, exporting mainly bulk carriers, oil carriers, and container ships. Over the past years, the demand for container ships of increasingly larger sizes has been going up. It is expected that, over time, the higher capacity of container ships will lead to a smaller number of ships in the worldwide fleet. By December 2020, there were about 5,400 container ships in the global merchant fleet.

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

Ports

Ship Operators

Piracy

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} 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!
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Ocean shipping worldwide - statistics & facts

Ocean shipping is an integral part of the supply chain for most industries, making it a backbone of global trade. Between 2013 and 2019, both the capacity of the global merchant fleet and the volume of seaborne trade increased significantly. During this time span, the volume of goods carried by ships rose by almost 35 percent, while the combined capacity of merchant ships grew by around 17 percent. Today, it is estimated that an overwhelming majority of goods, around 80 percent, are transported by ships.

That said, in 2018 the volume of maritime trade grew by around 2.7 percent compared with the previous year and in 2019 the growth reached just 0.5 percent. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the year 2020 is expected to see a contraction in the volume of seaborne trade. In 2020, the volume should shrink by around four percent compared with 2019. The only other time when the volume of maritime trade contracted year-on-year occurred in 2009 as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Impact of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to supply chains worldwide, leading to plummeting cargo volumes. Blank sailings increased by some 200 percent in February 2020 compared with the previous month. The shipping industry had to adapt to this new reality, reducing vessel capacity, cutting costs, and in some cases, increasing freight rates. As the pandemic will be getting under control and supply chains are forced to become more resilient, the year 2021 should bring a better outlook for the shipping industry, promising a rebound to the 2019 volume of maritime trade.

China as the shipbuilding powerhouse

Aside from being home to the busiest container ports worldwide, China has also been the global leader in shipbuilding since 2010, exporting mainly bulk carriers, oil carriers, and container ships. Over the past years, the demand for container ships of increasingly larger sizes has been going up. It is expected that, over time, the higher capacity of container ships will lead to a smaller number of ships in the worldwide fleet. By December 2020, there were about 5,400 container ships in the global merchant fleet.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Ocean shipping".

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