Maritime transport indicators

China, Singapore and the Republic of Korea are best integrated into the global liner shipping networks
The highest connectivity is recorded within regions, as well as between China and Europe
World container port throughput reached 753 million TEUs in 2017
Developing economies in Asia and Oceania handled 61% of world port container traffic
Liner shipping connectivity, 2017
Map liner shipping connectivity, 2017
a
As indicated by the LSBCI.
b
As indicated by the LSCI.
c
Change of less than 5 per cent compared to the value in the previous year.
Find the data on UNCTADstat

Liner shipping connectivity throughout the world

In 2017, the economy best connected to the global liner shipping network, as measured by the UNCTAD liner shipping connectivity index (LSCI), was China. Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong SAR and Malaysia followed next in the ranking. Sub-regional leaders comprised: Panama, Colombia and Mexico in Latin America and the Caribbean; Morocco, Egypt and South Africa in Africa; and Sri Lanka in South Asia. Ukraine has overtaken the Russian Federation as the best-connected transition economy.

Most top-20 bilateral connections are within Europe and within Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. However, China is relatively well connected also with two European countries, namely Belgium and Spain. For the best-connected economies, connectivity has not risen much further in recent years.

Figure 1 Liner shipping connectivity index, top five economies (China 2004=100)

Port container traffic

In 2017, 753 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers were handled in ports worldwide. World container port throughput grew by 6 per cent between 2016 and 2017. This was the highest growth recorded over the last five years.

Figure 2 World container port throughput (Millions of twenty-foot equivalent units)

Regional activity

Asia's role as an important port loading and unloading area (see section 5.1) and its high liner shipping connectivity (see above) is also reflected in the region’s high contribution to containerized port throughput. In 2017, ports in developing economies in Asia and Oceania handled 461 million TEUs of containers, accounting for almost two thirds (61 per cent) of world port container traffic. The shares of developing economies in America (7 per cent) and Africa (4 per cent) were much smaller. Developed economies accounted for one quarter of global containerized port throughput. Transition economies had a share of less than 1 per cent. 1

1
For further analyses on that topic, see UNCTAD (2018c).
Figure 3Containerized port traffic by group of economies, 2017 (Millions of twenty-foot equivalent units)

Summary tables

Table 1

Liner shipping connectivity index of most connected economies by group of economies, 2017

(China 2004 = 100)

Developing economies: Africa

Economy
(Ranked by 2017 value)

2007

2012

2016

2017

Morocco

9

55

62

69

Egypt

45

57

62

59

South Africa

28

37

35

39

Togo

11

14

29

33

Mauritius

17

24

28

32

Djibouti

10

17

34

30

Congo

10

13

26

24

Angola

10

14

27

23

Sudan

_

13

20

21

Nigeria

14

22

21

21

Developing economies: America

Economy
(Ranked by 2017 value)

2007

2012

2016

2017

Panama

31

42

50

52

Colombia

21

37

49

48

Mexico

31

39

46

47

Peru

17

33

35

41

Chile

17

33

33

40

Brazil

32

39

38

37

Dominican Republic

20

24

27

36

Argentina

26

34

35

35

Uruguay

21

32

33

33

Ecuador

14

23

33

32

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

Economy
(Ranked by 2017 value)

2007

2012

2016

2017

China

128

156

169

170

Singapore

88

113

118

122

Korea, Republic of

77

102

111

112

China, Hong Kong SAR

106

117

107

107

Malaysia

82

100

109

105

China, Taiwan Province of

62

67

77

76

Sri Lanka

42

43

61

71

Viet Nam

18

49

67

66

Oman

29

47

49

62

Saudi Arabia

45

60

61

62

Transition economies

Economy
(Ranked by 2017 value)

2007

2012

2016

2017

Ukraine

17

24

28

76

Russian Federation

14

37

40

36

Albania

2

1

4

6

Montenegro

_

1

4

6

Georgia

3

5

5

6

Developed economies

Economy
(Ranked by 2017 value)

2007

2012

2016

2017

United States of America

84

92

92

94

Netherlands

85

89

90

91

Belgium

74

79

85

90

Germany

89

91

94

90

United Kingdom

77

84

92

89

Spain

71

74

80

88

France

65

70

70

76

Japan

63

63

79

73

Italy

59

66

66

66

Sweden

26

49

53

58

Table 2

Liner shipping bilateral connectivity indices of the world’s seven most connected economies

Economy
(Ranked by LSCI 2017)

Year

LSCI

(China 2004=100)

Linear shipping bilateral connectivity index vis-à-vis ...

China

Singapore

Korea,
Rep. of

China, Hong Kong SAR

Malaysia

United States of America

Netherlands

China

2012

156

_

0.768

0.817

0.812

0.763

0.697

0.697

2017

170

_

0.776

0.816

0.763

0.753

0.688

0.679

Singapore

2012

113

_

0.726

0.744

0.814

0.597

0.655

2017

122

_

0.718

0.683

0.783

0.628

0.663

Korea, Republic of

2012

102

_

0.779

0.715

0.640

0.670

2017

112

_

0.689

0.690

0.634

0.641

China, Hong Kong SAR

2012

117

_

0.750

0.682

0.686

2017

107

_

0.664

0.611

0.617

Malaysia

2012

100

_

0.577

0.660

2017

105

_

0.590

0.632

United States of America

2012

92

_

0.618

2017

94

_

0.614

Netherlands

2012

89

_

2017

91

_