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27.01.2006 General News

Global maritime trade in significant performance


Accra, Jan. 27, GNA - The 2004 global maritime trade grew by 4.1 per cent, the highest increase in a decade, the 2005 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report has indicated. The report copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said the developed market economy countries experienced growth of 3.2 per cent while developing nations recorded an average of 6.5 per cent. It said growth in 2005 is likely to continue with the forecast figure about 3.1 per cent.

The report, which reviewed world maritime transport, looked at world fleet productivity; supply and demand; developments in the freight markets; port developments and trade and transport efficiency. Total maritime activities measured in ton-miles increased to 27,635 billion ton-miles, compared with 25,844 billion ton-miles in 2003. Volume of world merchandise exports grew by 13 per cent in 2004 compared with six per cent in 2003, a growth that reflected strong performance of China and other developing countries.

The report said world sea-borne trade (goods loaded) recorded another consecutive annual increase reaching a record high of 6.76 billion tons. The annual growth rate was 4.3 per cent, well below the 5.8 per cent increase of the 2004 figures.

It said world merchandise fleet expanded to 895.8 million deadweight tons at the beginning of 2005 showing a 4.5 per cent increase. The average age of world fleet dropped marginally to 12.3 years with almost 27.3 per cent of the fleet in 20 or more years. General cargo vessels had the highest average age of 17.5 years and container vessels the lowest, 9.4 years.

The year 2004, the report said was a bright one for the tanker market with overall volume of sea-borne crude oil trade increasing by 4.2 per cent.

It said negotiations on trade facilitation were covered in August 2004 decision of World Trade Organisation's General Council and the members had since started negotiations that focused on improving the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) 1994 Articles V, VIII and X which dealt respectively with transit issues, fees and formalities and transparency on trade procedures.