The globalisation of maritime businesses allows shipping companies to source from the most cost-efficient suppliers which has led to the reduction of international transport costs, which directly benefits global trade, according to the latest UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport.
Maritime transport saw an increase in demand in 2010, in particular in the dry bulk and container trade segments with total seaborne trade reaching an estimated 8.4bn tons.
On the supply side, 2010 saw record deliveries of new tonnage, 28% higher than in 2009, resulting in an 8.6% growth in the world merchant fleet. The fleet reached almost 1.4bn deadweight tons (dwt) by January 2011, an increase of 120m dwt over 2010. New deliveries stood at 150m dwt against demolitions and other withdrawals from a market of approximately 30m dwt.