Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
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Some highlights of the latest UNCTAD report.


Recently UNCTAD published its annual maritime report. The comments below highlight notable themes.

The UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2017, obtainable for free on the organisation’s website (link below) was published at the end of October this year. As in previous editions, it provides useful comprehensive coverage of many aspects of the global maritime scene, including seaborne trade, the world fleet, freight markets, ports, legal and regulatory issues and maritime connectivity for developing countries.

Among especially interesting comments, global seaborne trade is viewed as having good growth prospects over several years ahead. This contrasts with some quite pessimistic predictions seen elsewhere.

UNCTAD analysts suggest that volumes of world sea trade could grow by an average 3.2% annually between 2017 and 2022. If this expansion can be achieved, it probably would be widely regarded as a more than satisfactory performance.

Nevertheless, the report acknowledges that there is uncertainty and several downside risks. These arise around trade policy, infrastructure development, also technology and e-commerce.

Another important aspect addressed, for the first time in an UNCTAD annual review, is the employment of women in shipping. The latest Review states that “the shipping business – both offshore and onshore – is traditionally a male-dominated sector”.

At sea, only 1% of seafarers are women. In shore-based jobs globally, women hold 55% of junior positions and 9% of executive positions. The report urges governments and the industry to encourage more employment of women, ensure equal pay and improve retention rates.  (UNCTAD, 25 Oct 2017)   

by Richard Scott FICS, London & South East Branch Committee, 4 December 2017