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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Price of vessels and freight rates

This chapter covers the determinants of transport costs, the price of vessels and freight rates in the tanker market, the dry bulk cargo market and the liner shipping market. It concludes with an analysis of freight rates by region and fleet performance over the past few decades. The price of newbuildings was lower for all vessels types in 2010, reflecting market views that the capacity of the world fleet is sufficient to meet world trade in the shortterm. In the second-hand market, the results were mixed. The larger oil tankers held their value, while smaller tankers and specialized product tankers declined in value. In the dry bulk sector, the price of medium-sized Panamax vessels decreased, while the price of smaller and larger vessels increased. The price for all sizes of second-hand container ships also rose in value during 2010 as trade volumes recovered. Freight rates in the tanker sector performed better than the previous year, rising between 30 and 50 per cent by the end of 2010. Every month for all vessel types was better than the corresponding month for the previous year. However, tanker freight rates in general still remained depressed, compared with the years immediately preceding the 2008 peak. Freight rates in the dry bulk sector performed well for the first half of the year, but the Baltic Exchange Dry Index (BDI) lost more than half its value from the end of May 2010 to mid-July 2010. A partial rally occurred in August 2010 before the Index continued its downward trajectory. Between May 2010 and May 2011, the BDI declined by about two thirds. Container freight rates in 2010 witnessed a major transformation brought about by a boost in exports and measures introduced by shipowners to limit vessel oversupply. The result can be seen in the New ConTex Index, which tripled in value from early 2010 to mid-2011.

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