The Steep Rise in Global Seaborne Trade

Container shipping – statistics & facts​

Maritime shipping is the backbone of world trade; it is estimated that some 80 percent of all goods are carried by sea. In terms of value, global maritime container trade is estimated to account for around 60 percent of all seaborne trade, which was valued at around 14 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019. While the number of goods carried by containers increased from around 102 million metric tons in 1980 to about 1.83 billion metric tons in 2017, vessels have likewise increased their capacity. Between 1980 and 2020, the deadweight tonnage of container ships has grown from about 11 million metric tons to around 275 million metric tons. With a total capacity of over four million TEUs*, Danish shipping line APM-Maersk is currently the largest container-shipping company globally, followed by MSC, COSCO, CMA CGM, and Hapag-Lloyd.


Source: Statista Research Department, “The Steep Rise in Global Seaborne Trade” website. Accessed April 5, 2021.

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