Source: UNCTAD secretariat maritime statistics, based on data provided by Clarksons Research

  • Top 5 ship owners are Greece, Japan, China, Germany and Singapore. Together they have a market share of 49.5% of dwt.
  • Only one country from Latin America (Brazil) is among the top 35 ship owning countries, and none from Africa.
  • Top 5 flag registries are Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands, China Hong Kong SAR and Singapore. Together they have a market share of 57.8%.
  • Developing countries flag more than 76% of the world fleet in dwt.
  • In terms of vessel types, bulk carriers account for 42.8% of dwt, followed by oil tankers (28.7%), Container ships (13.2%), other types (11.3%) and general cargo ships (4%).
  • Only three countries (Republic of Korea, China and Japan) constructed 91.8% of world tonnage (GT) in 2016. Republic of Korea had the largest share with 38.1%.
  • Four countries (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China) together accounted for 94.9% of ship scrapping in 2016 (GT). 

The data confirms a continued trend of industry consolidation, where different countries specialize in different maritime sub-sectors and also confirms the growing participation of developing countries in many maritime sectors.

UNCTAD publishes an annual special report entitled 'Review of Maritime Transport' which includes more analysis and data of the seaborne trade, the world fleet, freight costs, port traffic and the latest trends in the legal and regulatory environment for international maritime transport. The Review of Maritime Transport 2017 is to be launched in October 2017, including a special chapter on maritime transport networks and connectivity, UNCTAD said.