THE world merchant fleet increased astronomically between 2007 and 2008, according to the review of maritime transport by the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
‘According to the United Nations trade organ, the world merchant fleet expanded by 7.2 per cent in 2007 to 1.12 billion deadweight tonnes (dwt) at the beginning of 2008. By that percentage increase, the organisation said there was a gain of 82 million dwt over the corresponding period of previous year.
The organisation attributed the increase to the historical high demand for shipping capacity that was responded to by the world shipping industry by ordering new tonnage, especially in the dry bulk sector.
The UNCTAD review of Maritime transport, copy of which was mailed to The Guardian few days ago, said vessel orders were at their highest level ever, reaching 10,053 ships with a total tonnage of 495 million dwt, including 222 million dwt of dry bulk carriers. According to the organisation, the tonnage of dry bulk ships on order at the end of 2007 was 72 times higher than it was in 2002. It said since mid 2007, dry bulk orders outstrip those of any other vessel type.