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Global seaborne trade to contract 3.6% in 2020

While 2020 is on course to be a rare year where global seaborne trade volumes will fall, the average distance of each tonne moved is still set to grow, thanks in large part to the surging volumes of US energy exports, much of which has headed to Asia.

Clarkson Research has run the numbers and now estimates that for the full year there will be a 3.6% contraction in global seaborne trade in terms of tonnes.

However, analysts at the world’s largest shipbroker have added a significant caveat. The estimated average haul or distance transported per tonne of seaborne trade is set to have increased by 0.7% across full year 2020, to close to 5,050 miles. This is the fifth consecutive year of increase in average haul.

“[T]he average haul in key energy commodities has increased, helped by increasing US energy exports over longer distances,” Clarkson Research noted in its most recent weekly report.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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