Asia’s predominance in global maritime trade strengthened in 2020, as it maintained a 41% share of total goods loaded, said UNCTAD’s latest Review of Maritime Transport.
amely, Asia increased its volume of goods discharged and remained the largest seafarer supply region in the world.
What is more, the report concludes that an outright end to globalization is unlikely, but China is expected to remain a leading manufacturing site in the near future.
It also states that discussions over the future of globalization have led to calls to take a fresher look at the configuration of the extended supply chains to reduce heavy reliance on distant suppliers. In fact, some are arguing that reshoring and nearshoring will accelerate, resulting in deep reconfiguration of supply chains.
According to UNCTAD, the pandemic drove dramatic variations in Asian trade between 2019 and 2020, especially on the Transpacific route.
Reflecting the initial shock caused by the pandemic, container volumes from Asia to North America dropped by 13% between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 but jumped by 36% in the third quarter of 2020, reflecting a surge in cargo flows to meet consumer demand
Reflecting these large swings in trade flows, 2020 saw an increase of 2.8% on the route. By comparison, trade on the Asia-Europe route declined by 2.6% in 2020. In addition, Asia’s container port throughput fell by a marginal 0.4% in 2020. The region also maintained its position as the global hub for container traffic, with nearly two thirds being handled at Asian container ports.
Largest providers of seafarers
The Philippines was the top provider of both seafarers and officers, Indonesia took third place for ratings and fifth for officers, China was third for officers and fourth for ratings, and India was fourth for officers and fifth for ratings. The Russian Federation was the other country in the top five list.
Urgent attention is required from flag, port and labour-supplying states, in collaboration with relevant international organizations, to end this crisis
Moreover, Asia leads the way when it comes to women holding port management and administrative roles. In the category measuring female participation in the port workforce, Asian members were above average for women in management and administrative roles, at 52%, compared to 39% in Europe.
Finally, the increased tariffs imposed by the US on goods from China has led to some interesting shifts of manufacturing within Asia. In 2020, Cambodia took over a large share of China’s market share in US Christmas lights imports.