World's biggest container ship etc. -

UNCTAD’s 2012 Review of Maritime Transport came out yesterday and is available at http://unctad.org/en/pages/publications/Review-of-Maritime-Transport-(Series).aspx .  Two interesting bits of information – (1) The world’s container fleet grew by 134 ships last year – from 4,868 ships to 5,012 ships last year – and added 1.3 million more TEUs  of capacity.  (A “TEU” is basically a container, or more technically an acronym stands for “twenty-foot-equivalent,” since a standard shipping container is 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 ½ feet  high.)  The container fleet of 2011 could carry 14.1 million containers around at any one moment, and the fleet of 2012 can carry 15.4 million.  Total global container capacity in 1990 was only 1.5 million TEUs.   

(2)  For rich countries, logistics costs are about 6.5 percent of the cost of imports.  The U.S. tariff rate, on average and excluding trade from FTA partners, is about 1.7 percent.  So for most goods, physical costs are a much higher ‘trade barrier’ than tariff policy.

(3)  The biggest container ship in the world, CMG Marco Polo, carries 16,000 TEUs and started its first voyage (from Ningbo to Southhampton, Rotterdam, and Hamburg and back), on November 8th.  The first container ship in the world, Ideal-X, launched in 1956 and carried 58 TEUs.