Review of Maritime Transport 2009

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Against the background of a global financial crisis and economic downturn, growth in seaborne trade continued, albeit at a slower rate. Existing forecasts suggest that the outlook for seaborne trade is uncertain and that some challenging times lie ahead for shipping and international seaborne trade. These challenges are further compounded by other developments, including maritime security at sea and the need to address the climate change challenge. The Review of Maritime Transport examines trends in sea-borne trade and analyses the comparative performance of different geographic regions and countries. Every year, the Review of Maritime Transport gives attention to transport developments in a particular region. The focus in 2009 is on developments in Africa since 2006 when UNCTAD last reported on the region.

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Developments in international seaborne trade

On the heels of the unfolding global financial crisis and economic downturn, growth in the world economy and in global merchandise exports decelerated in 2008, and is projected to decline in 2009. Reduced global production and demand, and the resulting lower levels of trade, have undermined growth in seaborne trade. Downside risks, including the adverse feedback loop between the financial sector and the real economy, make the outlook for seaborne trade uncertain. Climate change and the need to adopt an international regulatory regime for greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping are adding a further challenge to the maritime transport sector.

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