Review of Maritime Transport 2011

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More than 80 per cent of international trade in goods is carried by sea and an even higher percentage of developing-country trade is carried in ships. The Review of Maritime Transport, an annual publication prepared by the Division on Technology and Logistics of the UNCTAD secretariat, is an important source of information on a vital sector. It closely monitors developments affecting world seaborne trade, freight rates, ports, surface transport and logistics services, as well as trends in ship ownership control and fleet age, tonnage supply and productivity. The review contains information on legal and regulatory developments and includes an in depth focus annually on a selected topic. In 2011, the participation of developing countries in maritime businesses is highlighted.

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Executive summary

The world economic situation has brightened in 2010. However, multiple risks threaten to undermine the prospects of a sustained recovery and a stable world economy – including sovereign debt problems in many developed regions, and fiscal austerity. These risks are further magnified by the extraordinary shocks that have occurred in 2011, which have included natural disasters and political unrest, as well as rising and volatile energy and commodity prices. Given that for shipping, all stands and falls with worldwide macroeconomic conditions, the developments in world seaborne trade mirrored the performance of the wider economy. After contracting in 2009, international shipping experienced an upswing in demand in 2010, and recorded a positive turnaround in seaborne trade volumes especially in the dry bulk and container trade segments. However, the outlook remains fragile, as seaborne trade is subject to the same uncertainties and shocks that face the world economy.

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