Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Study Of Cargo Ship Movements Shows Efficiency Of Sea Freight Transport

Vessel Tracking Research Illustrates the “Global Highways”
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – For anyone interested in how patterns of world trade are dominated by sea freight a new report from the Journal of the Royal Society Interface makes essential reading. It is a most comprehensive survey of the movements of 16,363 cargo vessels, including container ships, dry bulk carriers and tankers all over 10,000 gross tonnes taken from 2007 data.

The report is based on data downloaded from the Lloyds Register Fairplay using its Sea-Web database and utilises the Automatic Identification System (AIS)technology which the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires to be fitted aboard international voyaging ships of over 300 tonnes and all passenger ships, regardless of size, to employ.

Data was used from almost half a million movements between 951 ports using the system and provides a unique view as to the pre-eminent position of sea freight in world trade plus illustrating the importance of regional trading blocks and complexity of an industry which moved 7.4 billion tonnes of freight in 2006.

The Panama and Suez canals were unsurprisingly the busiest places whilst Antwerp and Piraeus top the European sector. They however fall behind Shanghai and Singapore in terms of vessel movements. The study also highlights the danger of spreading unwanted organisms across the globe, both marine by way of ballast tank emissions and terrestrial, principally via containers.

The report also contains useful maps indicating trade hot spots and students of logistics who wish to study it in full and can do so here.