UNCTAD: ‘Recovery fraught with uncertainty

UNCTAD: ‘Recovery fraught with uncertainty’

The Baltic Exchange speaks out UNCTAD’s report. International maritime trade is expected to drop by 4.1% this year, with an anticipated modest recovery in 2021 that is heavily caveated by its forecaster, UNCTAD.

Trade growth, while stalled last year, was only 0.5% in 2019. This figure in 2018 was 2.8% and 11.08 mln tons. Despite this, maritime trade was volatile at the beginning of 2020.

The dramatic fallout of sea freight and the decline of all economic indicators lead to the forecast of UNCTAD. But we expect trade to grow 4.8% as next year improves. But as its acknowledges, predicting the timing and scale of the recovery is “challenging”. In this regard, many factors significantly affect the outlook, such as:

  • The pathway of the pandemic
  • Continued shifts in spending patterns

Market spotlight

UNCTAD’s total world fleet data from the start of this year counted 98,140 commercial ships of 100 gross tons. This number is equivalent to 2.06 bn dwt. Last year, the global commercial shipping fleet grew by 4.1%. This is the highest growth rate since 2014. UNCTAD reported that gas carriers grew the fastest. And then there are oil tankers and bulk carriers and container ships.

The container sector has already been strongly affected by the disruptions induced by the pandemic. Because it has intrinsic links to the world economy. As a result, its volume has been under pressure in 2020. But we expect freight rates in the oil and gas remain low on highly uncertain.

Dry bulk recovery also depends on global economic growth. This means that the development of transport rates is still uncertain.

It refers to China as a key feature in making any improvements to the dry bulk industry. According to the UNCTAD, excess capacity remains a threat to the principles of the industrial market. According to the report, sea freight should be prepared to ensure full readiness to enter the post-pandemic world.

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