Shipping connectivity ‘remains low’

Shipping connectivity remains below pre-COVID-19 levels in small island developing states like Barbados, says the United Nations Conference On Trade And Development (UNCTAD) in its Review of Maritime Transport 2023 report.

In the section of the report on Latin America and the Caribbean, UNCTAD said regarding maritime transport performance that “by the second quarter of 2023, regional averages for the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index were at record highs.

“Shipping connectivity remains below pre-COVID-19 levels in small island developing states, although those serving as regional trans-shipment centres, such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, have resumed their long-term growth trajectory,” it stated.

The Bahamas has not yet recovered from the decline experienced during the pandemic. Contract rates covering intra-South American trade rose by a dramatic 397 per cent in 2022, compared with 2021. These increases were primarily down to strong demand while the supply capacity fell short.”

The report added: “Compared with 2019, the highest increases in contract rates were seen across routes originating from Asia and destined for South America. Asia-South America rates increased by 386 per cent in 2022 when compared with 2019.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean region, container port calls dropped by 4.4 per cent, compared with 5.4 per cent in North America and 7.5 per cent in Europe. Port calls by liquid bulk carriers increased by more than five per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

UNCTAD said in relation to maritime trade that Latin America and the Caribbean “saw a reduction of almost six percentage points in container volumes in 2020 compared with 2019. By the end of 2022, the gap had narrowed – but the total was still below the levels of 2019”.

“The Caribbean coast of Panama recovered more quickly and showed better results in exports (+15 per cent exports versus -15 per cent exports) in 2022 when compared with 2019, while the Pacific coast of Panama experienced a 14 per cent increase in imports against an 11 per cent decline in exports,” it reported. (SC)

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