The LSCI covers 178 countries and presents maritime connectivity trends from 2006 to 2019. It is calculated from data on the world’s container ship deployment and released annually. This year UNCTAD has expanded the time series in collaboration with MDS Transmodal to cover more countries, including several SIDS.


Five of the top 10 best connected economies in 2019 are in Asia, with Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong (China), and Malaysia, concluding the top-five list, each with a score of more than 100, according to the index’s metrics.

At the other end of the table, small islands developing states (SIDS) have hardly seen any improvement, which means that trade in shipped goods remains problematic in those countries, with knock-on economic effects.

Commenting on this trend, UNCTAD’s chief of trade logistics, Jan Hoffmann, said that:

We observe a ‘connectivity divide’ – a growing difference – between the best and worst connected countries

The 2019 index contains a new component covering countries that can be reached without the need for transhipment. In fact, counting on a direct regular shipping connection has empirically been shown to help reduce trade costs and increase trade volumes, Mr. Hoffmann added.

Specifically, research indicates that the lack of a direct connection relates to a 42% lower value of bilateral exports.

The other five components of the index remain the same, namely:

  • The number of companies that provide shipping services;
  • The number of services;
  • The number of ships that call per month;
  • The total deployed container-carrying capacity;
  • The size of the largest vessel.

Finally, on 10 August, UNCTAD will release a new port liner shipping connectivity index for over 900 ports, along with new statistics about port calls and time spent in ports.