Let’s start with some insightful ocean shipping statistics and facts.

Ocean Shipping Staistics & Data: The Key Findings

  • Around 90% of world trade is carried out by sea shipping.
  • The global market for cargo shipping was estimated at 10.8 billion metric tons in 2022 and is projected to reach 12.5 billion metric tons by 2030.
  • The global cargo shipping market was valued at $2.2 trillion in 2021 and is projected to reach $4.2 trillion by 2031.
  • Ocean shipping represents 2.9% of total greenhouse emissions.
  • Maritime vessels account for 40% of U.S. international trade value.
  • 76 percent of all trade involves some form of marine transportation.
  • The top 10 ocean carriers control around 85% of the global container fleet.
  • The largest container ship today has a capacity of 24,000 TEUs.
  • The largest ocean carrier is MSC with a fleet capacity of 4.3 million TEUs

Source: (UNCTAD, Globe Newswire, PR Newswire, International Chamber of Shipping, OECD, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, NOAA.)

What is the percentage of world trade by sea?

Around 90% of world trade is carried out by sea shipping. Maritime transport forms the backbone of international trade and the global economy.

What is the percentage of world trade by sea

Over 80% of the volume of goods traded internationally is transported by ships, and this percentage is even higher for developing countries. Seaborne trade has quadrupled over the past four decades as industrialization, economic liberalization, and advances in shipping technology have fueled increasing volumes of consumer goods transported across oceans. Shipping generates over half a trillion dollars annually and will continue expanding as the world’s population and economies grow.

What Does Data SuggestDetails
Dominance of Maritime TransportSea shipping is the primary mode of transport in global trade, indicating its efficiency and capacity for large volumes.
Global Economic InterdependenceThe high percentage suggests a global economy heavily dependent on reliable and efficient sea routes for trade.
Infrastructure and Investment FocusThis statistic points towards significant investments in maritime infrastructure and technology to facilitate such a large volume of trade.
Environmental and Policy ImplicationsThe heavy reliance on sea shipping raises concerns about environmental impacts and necessitates robust international maritime policies.

Cargo Shipping Market to Reach 12.5 Billion Metric Tons by 2030

The global cargo shipping market is projected to reach 12.5 billion metric tons by 2030, growing at a CAGR of around 2% over 2022-2030. The growth is driven by expanding seaborne trade, increasing demand for raw materials and commodities, and growth of the global middle class. Asia Pacific accounted for the largest share of the cargo shipping market in 2021, due to high export volumes from manufacturing hubs like China. North America and Europe are also significant markets.

What Does Data SuggestDetails
Increasing Global TradeThe growth suggests a rising demand for maritime transport, driven by expanding global trade and economic activities.
Economic ExpansionThis trend indicates broader economic growth and increased production and consumption patterns worldwide.
Investment in Maritime SectorAnticipated growth may lead to increased investments in shipping infrastructure, technology, and fleet expansion.
Environmental and Sustainability ChallengesThe growth emphasizes the need for sustainable shipping practices to mitigate environmental impact.

Source: Globe Newswire

Global Cargo Shipping Valued at $2.2 Trillion in 2021, Set to Double by 2031

The global cargo shipping market, a crucial component of international trade and logistics, was valued at approximately $2.2 trillion in 2021. According to a report by Allied Market Research, this market is projected to experience significant growth, reaching an estimated value of $4.2 trillion by 2031. This growth, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7%, is driven by factors such as the rise in global marine freight shipping, increasing awareness of marine safety norms, and a surge in trade-related contracts. The market’s expansion is further influenced by the evolving dynamics of international trade and the increasing efficiency of cargo transportation services.

What Does Data SuggestDetails
Robust Market GrowthThis projection indicates a strong, sustained growth trend in global shipping, driven by increasing trade and economic development.
Technological AdvancementsThe market growth suggests a surge in investments in technology and innovation in the shipping industry.
Diversification of Trade GoodsThe value increase points to a shift towards more valuable, perhaps technologically advanced goods being shipped.
Enhanced Global ConnectivityThis growth underlines enhanced global connectivity and the increasing efficiency of international supply chains.

Source: PR Newswire

Ocean Shipping Responsible for 2.9% of Global Greenhouse Emissions

Ocean shipping accounts for around 2.9% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, comparable to a major emitting country. Maritime shipping emissions continue to rise rapidly, projected to increase 50-250% by 2050 if left unchecked. International shipping emitted over 1 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2018 and could reach 1.5 billion tons by 2050. While still a fraction of emissions from other sectors like energy and manufacturing, the shipping industry must take steps to curb emissions growth.

What Does Data SuggestDetails
Environmental Impact of ShippingThis percentage points to a considerable environmental footprint of the maritime shipping industry.
Need for Sustainable PracticesIt suggests an urgent need to adopt more sustainable shipping methods to reduce emissions.
Policy and Regulation PotentialIndicates potential for stricter environmental regulations and policies in the maritime sector.
Innovation and Technology ShiftHighlights the importance of investing in cleaner, more efficient shipping technologies.

Source: OECD

Maritime Vessels Carry 40% of U.S. International Trade Value

Maritime vessels transport over 40% of U.S. international trade by value. In 2018, ships carried $1.76 trillion worth of goods in and out of the country, accounting for 41.9% of the total value of U.S. international trade. By weight, maritime transports 70.9% of U.S. international trade. The large volume and value of maritime trade highlights the importance of the maritime industry and ports to the U.S. economy.

What Does Data SuggestDetails
Key Role of Maritime TransportThis figure highlights the critical importance of maritime shipping in the U.S. economy and global trade.
Diversified Trade ChannelsIndicates a balanced trade approach with significant reliance on both sea and other modes of transportation.
Infrastructure and Investment NeedsImplies a need for robust maritime infrastructure and continued investment in ports and shipping lanes.
Focus on Maritime PolicySuggests a significant impact of maritime policies on the U.S. economy and international trade relations.

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Marine Transportation Pivotal in 76% of All Global Trade

Maritime transportation is critical for global trade, with over 70% of global trade by value transported by sea. This reliance on ships is even higher for developing nations and in sectors like mining, where up to 76% of trade relies on maritime transport. Overall, maritime transportation accounts for at least 50% of total global trade by value.

Source: NOAA

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