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Asia accounts for 60% of seaborne trade and still growing: Stopford

Asia now accounts for a dominant 60% of seaborne trade, and has plenty of potential to grow, according to statistics provided by the world’s most famous shipping analyst, Dr Martin Stopford.

The president of Clarkson Research was speaking at Nor-Shipping’s first Asia focused seminar on Wednesday, where he described the continent as the “centre of maritime trade”, its 60% share of seaborne trade equating to 6bn tonnes a year.

Stopford said that China was not the whole story, and that the continent as a whole was a “collage of development”.

Stopford said that greater port infrastructure was needed in the region, especially in Southeast and South Asia, and if done right would be very profitable.

Asia has still much more potential, the Clarkson executive stressed, pointing out that the average per ton per capita moved by sea in Asia is less than half of the OECD population.

Stopford did add some caveats however, saying: “The China steel industry has peaked out but its iron ore imports have not yet, but China has some internal issues to solve.”

With China pushing its influence in the region more and more to the chagrin of the United States, Stopford warned that this might lead to trouble, not that shipowners would be affected, he posited.

“The history of shipping is doing business with people who don’t get on with each other,” he said, concluding that shipowners are smarter than just about everyone else.

Hans Thaulow

Hans Henrik Thaulow is an Oslo-based journalist who has been covering the shipping industry for the last 15 years. As well as some work for the Informa Group, Hans was the China correspondent for TradeWinds. He also contributes to Maritime CEO magazine. Hans’ shipping background extends to working as a shipbroker trainee with Simpson, Spence & Young in Hong Kong.
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