Statistics is an inherent part of UNCTAD. Being the United Nations' focal point for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, UNCTAD compiles, validates and processes a wide range of data collected from national and international sources. Most of the time series cover long periods
, with some dating back to 1948, for almost all economies of the world
.Read more > >
Statistics at a glance
World seaborne trade continues its expansion with developing countries contributing larger shares
In 2012 and for the first time on UNCTAD’s record, the volume of international trade carried by sea surpassed the 9 billion tons mark. Estimated at 4.3 per cent, growth in international seaborne trade during the year outpaced growth in the world economy. A rise in China’s domestic demand as well as increased intra-Asian and other South–South trade flows have been the main force driving the expansion.
In line with recent trends, developing countries continue to contribute larger shares to both growth and volume of seaborne merchandise trade. In 2012, 60 per cent of world seaborne exports and 58 per cent of imports have been, respectively loaded and unloaded in developing countries’ ports. But contributions by individual countries remain uneven, reflecting their varying levels of integration into global trading networks and supply chains.
Asia dominates as the main loading and unloading region while Africa is increasingly attracting attention as a region with significant potential for investment, growth and seaborne trade.
Participation of developing countries in world seaborne trade, selected years
(percentage share in world tonnage)
Published: 8 January 2014
Access to data: