The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published its 2015 'Review of Maritime Transport,' showing a slow recovery from the global financial crisis and a small increase in developing countries' share of global container traffic.
The report reviews legal and regulatory developments in maritime transport, and underscores the role of maritime transport in the implementation of a "workable international sustainable development agenda."
14 October 2015: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published its 2015 ‘Review of Maritime Transport,’ showing a slow recovery from the global financial crisis and a small increase in developing countries’ share of global container traffic. The report reviews legal and regulatory developments in maritime transport, and underscores the role of maritime transport in the implementation of a “workable international sustainable development agenda.”
UNCTAD highlights the need for economic and regulatory incentives to encourage owners to modernize their fleets, including the demolition of old vessels. This will help reduce current oversupply, improve environmental safety in the areas of fuel emissions, waste, and ballast water treatment, and could lead to long-term cost savings, the authors argue.
On the importance of marine transport for developing countries, the report finds that around 80% of global trade by volume is carried by sea, and around 70% of global trade by value. Developing countries’ trade volume is 90% seaborne; however many countries, especially in Africa and Oceania, pay 40-70% more on average for the international transport of their imports than developed countries. This is due to regional trade imbalances and some countries’ lower trade volumes and shipping connectivity, as well as their need for port and trade facilitation reforms, according to the report.
Over half of world shipping tonnage is controlled by the top five ship-owning countries: Greece, Japan, China, Germany and Singapore. The report notes a continuing gradual rise in developing economies’ share of world container port throughput, currently at around 71.9%.
Developments highlighted in the report chapter on the legal and regulatory framework, include the 2014 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adoption of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2017. The Polar Code requires provisions to ensure ship safety and prevent environmental pollution in both Arctic and Antarctic waters. The IMO also adopted regulatory measures on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, and finalized the third IMO GHG Study.
In addition, the 2010 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS Convention), which has not yet entered into force, adopted guidelines for developing an Inventory of Hazardous Materials. [Publication: Review of Maritime Transport 2015] [Report Highlights] [UN Press Release]