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Review of Maritime Transport 2012

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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.

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Developments in international seaborne trade

In tandem with the world economy and global merchandise trade, international seaborne shipments continued to grow in 2011, albeit at a slower rate than in 2010. Fuelled by strong growth in container and dry bulk trades, world seaborne trade grew by 4 per cent in 2011, taking the total volume of goods loaded worldwide to 8.7 billion tons. In addition to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and other difficulties facing advanced economies, a number of factors have weighed down on global growth. These include, in particular, heightened global financial risks, political and social unrest in North Africa and Western Asia, natural disasters in Japan and Thailand which have disrupted regional and global supply chains, rising oil prices and volatility, austerity measures, the fading of the stimulus effect of 2010, and geopolitical tensions in the Strait of Hormuz. Many of these factors remained relevant in 2012 and, depending on how they evolve, they could impact dramatically on the global economic and trade outlook.

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