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. Developments in Latin American and Caribbean trade and maritime transport are featured in the 2005 edition.
This year´s Review indicates that, while world output grew by 4.1 per cent in 2004, world seaborne trade (goods loaded) increased by 4.3 per cent. Worldwide fleet expansion continued at a pace of 4.5 per cent. World container port traffic expanded by 9.6 per cent over that of the previous year, reaching 303.1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), with ports of developing countries handling 122.4 million TEUs, or 40.4 per cent of the total.
The share of the developing-country fleet reached 22.6 per cent, or 202.3 million dwt (deadweight tons), at the beginning of 2005. About 77 per cent of this fleet belongs to developing countries in Asia. The net increase of developing countries´ fleet was 20.9 million dwt, more than four times the net increase of the fleet of major open-registry countries, which increased by 4.5 million dwt. The worldwide merchant fleet increased by 38.8 million dwt to a record 895.8 million dwt.
This year´s regional review focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean. These countries recovered from the 2001 crisis and recorded export growth by value of 22.4 per cent in 2004. The merchant fleets of these countries, not counting those of the major open-registry countries, make up only 4 per cent of the world fleet, with three quarters of this percentage accounted for by three minor open-registry countries. Trans-shipment port activity is remarkable in the Caribbean, with a flurry of new investments.