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Global maritime trade could suffer the biggest drop in decades in 2023.

Deconomic development an average of 2.1% may be maintained over the next five years; Unctad calls for efforts by the international community to learn from the current supply chain crisis and better prepare for the future.

Global maritime trade in 2023 is expected to evolve by an average of 2.1%. The rate will be the slowest when compared to the 3.3% registered in the last three decades.
The trend should continue until 2027, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Unctad.

Moderate evolution
The UN agency projects a moderate evolution of 1.4% in the last year, after a significant recovery registered in 2021. During this period, the type of exchange advanced 3.2% and total shipments were around 11 billion tons.
Last year's rate represents an improvement of seven percentage points, compared with the 3.8% drop seen in 2020.

Africa had one of the highest growths in maritime trade, rising 5.6% compared to 2020. Asia remained the world's main maritime cargo handling hub, accounting for 42% of exports and 64% of imports.
Latin America and the Caribbean saw a 3% increase in maritime trade in 2021.

Maritime Transport Review

In the 2022 Maritime Transport Review, Unctad aggregates trade statistics in the sector and publishes an analysis of structural and cyclical changes that affect the type of exchange, ports and navigation.

In the publication, the UN agency recommends greater investment in maritime supply chains.

The argument is that ports, marine fleets and hinterland connections must be better prepared for future global crises, climate change and the transition to low-carbon energy.
The report also points to the supply chain crisis of the last two years as having exposed the mismatch between demand and supply of maritime logistics capacity.

As effects of the situation there were increases in freight rates, congestion and interruptions in global value chains.

Future challenges and transitions

It is estimated that ships currently transport more than 80% of goods traded globally. The percentage is even higher for most developing countries.

To respond to the situation, the publication argues that there is an urgent need to increase resilience to shocks that interrupt supply chains, fuel inflation and affect the poorest most.
For the secretary general of Unctad, Rebeca Grynspan, it is necessary for the world to be able to learn from the current supply chain crisis and better prepare for future challenges and transitions.

The proposed measures are improving the infrastructure of the transport system, renewing the fleet and improving port performance and trade facilitation. Another recommendation is not to delay the decarbonization of maritime transport.

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