China trumps US, Japan to become world top maritime nation

Chinese President Xi Jinping

A new report released by DNV GL and Menon Economics in Hamburg has named world most populous country, China as the leading maritime nation. 

China emerged ahead of the United States of America, Japan, Germany, Norway and South Korea to clinch the maritime top spot. 

Titled “The Leading Maritime Nations of the World”, the report benchmarks the 30 top maritime nations around the world in four key maritime pillars: shipping, finance and law, maritime technology and ports & logistics, in order to understand the key drivers behind national maritime success.

The new report follows up the 2017 report by Menon and DNV GL on the “Leading Maritime Capitals of the World” but shifts the focus to an extensive review of the maritime industry at the national level.

The 30 countries studied were ranked by size and magnitude on all four key maritime pillars and their subgroups. As the shipping sector is the main engine of the entire maritime industry, more weight was given to the shipping sector.

The 2018 report ranks China as the world’s leading maritime nation due to its top four ranking in all of the maritime pillars. 

China’s position is particularly strong on the ports and logistics pillar, with the world’s largest container and bulk ports.

Co-author of the report and Managing Partner, Menon Economics, Erik W. Jakobsen said, “The strength of China is overwhelming, particularly on the pillar of ports and logistics, but also in shipping.

“It should not surprise us, though, since China is the largest exporting and importing country of the world. The other economic superpower, USA, follows China on the ranking, with major ports and maritime cities both on the east and west coast.”

The USA is placed second, scoring high on all four dimensions, followed by Japan. Germany, Norway and South Korea, share the fourth place. Germany’s strength lies in its consistency, with a top five spot in three categories, whereas Norway has its strongest position within maritime finance and law and maritime technology. South Korea scores top in maritime technology and is among the top 10 in shipping and ports & logistics.

“For the top three maritime nations, the study’s rankings mirror the size of their national economies,” Regional Head of Maritime Advisory for South East Asia, Pacific and India, at DNV GL Maritime, Shahrin Osman, who also co-authored both the 2017 and 2018 reports, said.

“Interestingly however, in the joint fourth position of Norway, South Korea, and Greece in the 7th position, we can see that ‘smaller’ countries can still have an outsize influence and importance to the maritime world, due to their traditions, history and innovations,” Osman said. 

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