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UNCTAD publishes maritime connectivity index

2019-07-26 / Number of views:147
       

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has published its liner shipping connectivity index (LSCI) for 2019, showing countries that have improved or worsened their positions in maritime transport networks.

The position in the LSCI indicates a country’s trade costs and competitiveness. The index covers 178 countries and shows maritime connectivity trends from 2006 to 2019. It is calculated from data on the world’s container ship deployment and released annually.

China holds its position as the leading country in 2019. Its LSCI has increased by 51 per cent since 2006.

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

Liner Shipping Connectivity: top 10 countries, 2006-2019. Figure courtesy of UNCTAD, based on data provided by MDS Transmodal

Small islands developing states (SIDS) have hardly seen any improvement, meaning trade in shipped goods remains problematic in those countries, with knock-on economic effects.

“We observe a ‘connectivity divide’ – a growing difference – between the best and worst connected countries,” said UNCTAD’s chief of trade logistics, Jan Hoffmann.

This year UNCTAD has expanded the time series in collaboration with MDS Transmodal to cover more countries, including several SIDS.

The 2019 index also includes a new component covering countries that can be reached without the need for transhipment.

“Counting on a direct regular shipping connection has empirically been shown to help reduce trade costs and increase trade volumes,” Mr. Hoffmann said.

Research shows that the absence of a direct connection is associated with a 42 per cent lower value of bilateral exports.

The other five components of the index remain unchanged – 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, and the size of the largest vessel.

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