World trade is slowly rebounding, indicates shipping data

FE Online Report | Thursday, 10 September 2020

After a big drop during the second quarter of 2020, the number of ships pulling into ports to unload and load containers rebounded in many parts of the world in the third quarter.

Maritime shipping saw a sudden slowdown earlier this year as regulatory measures used to curb the Covid-19 pandemic limited economic activities and travel.

As a result, by mid-June, the average number of container vessels arriving weekly at sea ports worldwide had sunk to 8,722, an 8.50 per cent year-on-year decline.

Nevertheless, the average weekly calls have started to recover globally, rising to 9,265 by early August which was 3.0 per cent below the levels of one year earlier, according to the latest estimate of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (UNCTAD).

“This offers a hopeful sign for world merchandise trade, which suffered a historic year-on-year fall of 27.0 per cent in the second quarter,” according to a press statement of UNCTAD.

“Most of the manufactured goods that we produce and consume are shipped in containers,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s technology and logistics division. “The latest containership port call patterns therefore offer a ray of hope for economic recovery from the pandemic.”

[The detail analysis of the latest shipping data is available at https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2465