The Review of Maritime Transport, an annual publication prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat, provides comprehensive and up-to-date statistics and information on maritime and ancillary services. The Review focuses on developments concerning maritime activities in developing countries as compared with other groups of countries. In the 2004 edition, particular attention is given to developments in Asian trade and maritime transport.
This year´s Review indicates that world output grew by 2.6 per cent in 2003 and world seaborne trade (goods loaded) increased by 3.7 per cent. Indicators for world fleet productivity (calculated in tons carried per dwt and thousands of ton-miles per dwt) showed increases of 2.9 and 4.3 per cent over the figures for 2002. World container port traffic expanded by 9.2 per cent over that of the previous year, reaching 266.3 million TEUs, with ports of developing countries handling 103.6 million TEUs, or 38.9 per cent of the total.
The regional review focuses on Asia. Average export and import growth rates for 40 selected Asian economies reached 14.8 per cent in 2003, and Asian countries were major players in world maritime transport, having sizable shares of several activities. These countries accounted for 35.8 per cent of container ship ownership, 45.7 per cent of container ship operation, 60.4 per cent of seamen, 62.3 per cent of container port throughput, 64.7 per cent of container port operators, 83.2 per cent of container ship building and 99 per cent of ship demolition. The plight of Asian landlocked countries, such as the Lao People´s Democratic Republic and several Central Asian countries, facing abnormally high transport costs is highlighted in this year´s Review. On some borders, the average cost and time can reach up to US$650 and 280 hours.