Shipments by sea passed the 10bn tons for the first time ever in 2015, up 2.1 per cent from the 9.8bn tons the year before, according to the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2016 (pdf link).
However, this was the slowest pace of growth in the industry since 2009 and that future growth looks uncertain.
Shipping carried more than 80 per cent of the world’s goods by volume in 2015, and “its slow growth reflected sluggish global trade”, the review said.
“Shipping of oil recorded its best performance since 2008, thanks to low oil prices, ample supply and stable demand.
“But shipping’s overall growth was dragged down by the limited growth of dry bulk commodity trade, in particular coal and iron ore, and by the poor performance of container shipping, which carries about 95 per cent of the world’s manufactured goods.”