Companies transport passengers, freight and cargo over water. Also includes operators of marine ports. The Marine Shipping industry is a global industry that connects economies and facilitates international trade. While it’s difficult to provide up-to-date, comprehensive demographics and statistics, some key indicators can help illustrate the industry’s scale and significance:
- Market size: According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the maritime shipping industry is responsible for transporting around 80% of global trade by volume and over 70% by value.
- Fleet size: As of 2021, there were over 50,000 merchant ships registered in over 150 countries, with the largest fleets belonging to countries like Greece, Japan, China, and Singapore.
- Container shipping: Containerized trade accounts for a significant portion of the shipping industry, with approximately 24 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of container capacity globally. The largest container shipping companies include Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and CMA CGM Group.
- Bulk carriers and tankers: Bulk carriers transport dry goods such as grain, coal, and iron ore, while tankers carry liquid cargoes like crude oil and petroleum products. Together, bulk carriers and tankers account for a significant share of the global shipping industry.
- Employment: The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) estimates that over 1.6 million seafarers serve on international merchant ships, with the majority coming from countries like the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and India.
- Environmental impact: The shipping industry is responsible for approximately 2-3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Regulatory bodies like the International Maritime Organization (IMO) implement policies to reduce the industry’s environmental impact, such as the 2020 sulfur cap and future goals for GHG emissions reduction.