Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide. These shares are even higher in the case of most developing countries.
UNCTAD's Review of Maritime Transport has since 1968 provided coverage of key developments affecting international seaborne trade, shipping, the world fleet, ports, freight markets, and transport-related regulatory and legal frameworks.
The Review of Maritime Transport 2014 has 6 distinct chapters:
Chapter 1: Seaborne Trade
Reflecting a stumbling growth in the world economy, the growth in world seaborne shipments decelerated over the previous year and averaged just 3.8 per cent in 2013. In line with this growth the volume of international seaborne trade totaled nearly 9.6 billion tons.
Chapter 2: The world fleet
The 2014 issue of the Review of Maritime Transport introduces a novel analysis regarding the ownership of the fleet which draws a distinction between the concept of the "nationality of ultimate owner" and the "beneficial ownership location".
Chapter 3: Freight rates
2013 was marked by another gloomy and volatile maritime freight rates market: all shipping segments suffered substantially. The general causes of freight rates' low performance were mainly attributable to the poor world economic development, weak or hesitant demand and persistent supply overcapacity.
Chapter 4: Seaports
With world container port throughput increasing by an estimated 5.6 per cent to 651.1 million TEUs in 2013, the share of port throughput for developing countries increased by an estimated 7.2 per cent. Asian ports continue to dominate the league table for port throughput and for terminal efficiency.
Chapter 5: The legal and regulatory developments
As regards regulatory developments relating to environmental and related issues, additional guidelines to support the implementation of a set of technical and operational measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping have been adopted by IMO.
Chapter 6: Small islands face special challenges
A special chapter of this year's Review of Maritime Transport focuses on challenges faced by the world's Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in line with the United Nations declaration of 2014 as the "Year of SIDS". The maritime transport services connecting SIDS to global trade networks face severe structural, operational and development obstacles. Remoteness from main global trade routes constitutes a major disadvantage in terms of cost and time, but also quality and frequency, of services that access international markets.