Seaborne trade is expected to grow by 4% this year, the same as in 2017, which was the fastest rate for five years, according to the 2018 edition of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Review of Maritime Transport.
According to the report, volumes across all segments are set to grow, with containerised and bulk commodities outpacing tanker volumes partly because of ongoing supply-demand improvements.
The UNCTAD report projected an average annual growth rate in total volumes of 3.8% up to 2023.
“While the prospects for seaborne trade are positive, these are threatened by the outbreak of trade wars and increased inward-looking policies.
“Escalating protectionism and tit-for-tat tariff battles will potentially disrupt the global trading system which underpins demand for maritime transport,” UNCTAD Secretary-GeneraL, Mukhisa Kituyi, said.
The annual report further stated that liner shipping consolidation, technological advances and climate change policy are key drivers of change in global shipping.
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