Maritime transport indicators

Map 1. Liner shipping connectivity, 2021

Notes: Top 10 overall connected economies are shown in the default selection. Data on bilateral connectivity are not available for all economies.

a As indicated by the LSBCI 2021.
b As indicated by the LSCI.
c Change of less than 5 per cent compared to the value in the previous year.

Liner shipping connectivity throughout the world

In the third quarter of 2021, China was the economy best connected to the global liner shipping network, as measured by the LSCI. Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and the United States of America followed next in the rankings. Regional leaders included: the Netherlands and Spain in Europe; Panama and Colombia in Latin America and the Caribbean; Egypt and Morocco in Africa; and Sri Lanka and India in Southern Asia. Among the least connected 30 economies, 22 are islands and four are coastal LDCs.

In 2021, nine of the top 10 bilateral connections were intra-regional within Europe or within Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. The only inter-regional connection among the top 20 was between China and the United States of America.

Figure 1. Liner shipping connectivity index, top 5 economies
(China Q1 2006=100)

Port container traffic

Figure 2. World container port throughput
(Millions of twenty-foot equivalent units)
In 2020, 815.6 million TEUs of containers were handled in ports worldwide. World container port throughput declined by 1.2 per cent between 2019 and 2020. This reduction is moderate in comparison to other shipping market segments and total seaborne trade. This reflects the resilience of containerized trade amid the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asia’s leading role as a global maritime freight loading and unloading centre and its high liner shipping connectivity are mirrored in the region’s high contribution to containerized port throughput. In 2020, ports in the developing economies of Asia and Oceania handled 509 million TEUs of containers, accounting for 62 per cent of world port container traffic. The shares of developing America and developing Africa were significantly lower, at 7 and 4 per cent, respectively. Developed economies accounted for 26 per cent.

Port calls

The economy that recorded most port calls of ships in 2020 was Norway. On average, cargo-carrying ships departed from Norwegian ports less than half a day after their arrival.1

Figure 3. Containerized port traffic by group of economies, 2020
(Millions of twenty-foot equivalent units)

Concepts and definitions

The liner shipping connectivity index (LSCI) indicates a country’s position within global liner shipping networks. It is calculated from the number of ship calls, their container carrying capacity, the number of services and companies, the size of the largest ship, and the number of other countries connected through direct liner shipping services.

The liner shipping bilateral connectivity index (LSBCI) is calculated from five components, including the number of transshipments required to trade and the connections available using one transshipment.

Port container traffic is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). One TEU represents the volume of a standard 20-feet long intermodal container.

The number of port calls and the time spent in ports are derived from combining automatic identification system data with port mapping intelligence. These data cover ships of 1000 gt and above.

Summary tables

Table 1. Liner shipping connectivity index of most connected economies, by region
(China Q1 2006=100)
    Table 2. Time at port, by market segment, in the top 20 economies by port call, 2020

    Note: Number of port calls includes arrivals of ferries, roll-on roll-off and passenger ships, for which the time in port is not computed.

      Table 3. Liner shipping connectivity of the world’s seven most connected economies
      Note: All index values refer to the value at Q1 of the indicated year.

        Notes

        1. For further analyses on that topic, see -—
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        References

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