SEABORNE trade is forecast to reach a record high of 8.3bn tonnes this year, up 438m tonnes on 2009 volumes, as Asia’s demand for raw materials grows.
This represents 6% projected growth and sees a reverse from the decline in seaborne volumes in 2009, when 7.8bn tonnes are estimated to have been shipped, down from the previous record of 8.2bn tonnes in 2008, according to data from Clarkson Research Services.
The London-based broker said the expansion in seaborne trade volumes was set to be “propelled by strong underlying demand in the dry bulk sector”.
Demand for major bulk commodities, such as iron ore, coal, grain and other minerals is set to lead the expansion in seaborne trade, with volumes expected to rise 8% this year to 2.3bn tonnes, the Clarksons data shows.
As expected, iron ore accounts for the largest rise in numbers, with 996m tonnes forecast to be transported by ship in 2010, compared to 907m tonnes last year. But coking coal showed the greatest growth, as demand increases 15% this year to 247m tonnes, up from 215m tonnes last year.
Clarksons noted China in particular was driving expansion in coking coal demand, with imports up “an astounding 847%” last year.
The minor bulk sector is expected to see demand for agribulks, sugar, fertilisers, forest and steel products increase by 9% in 2010 to a total 930m tonnes. This rise will see total bulk trade rise to 3.2bn tonnes this year, a 20% rise on 2005 volumes.