Jump in global sea trade driven by expanding Asian demand – UN

7 December 2007Pushed by surging demand in Asia, international trade carried by ship climbed 4.3 per cent to over 7 billion tons in 2006, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report released today. Crude oil and petroleum products comprised over one-third of seaborne merchandise, the report noted.Growth in Asia – and China in particular – drove total demand for shipping services up by 5.5 per cent to reach 30,686 billion ton-miles in 2006.Also, the total world merchant fleet expanded to 1.04 billion deadweight tons in 2006, marking the first year global capacity has surpassed the 1 billion mark.Last year, total world merchandise trade – however carried – rose 8 per cent, double the rate of increase in global GDP for the year.