Source: MDS Transmodal, World Cargo Database. Note: Groups are at the SITC 2 digits level.
It is estimated that in 2015, 135.5 million TEU of trade was carried in containers, compared to 88.5 million TEU in 2005. The composition of global containerized trade shows an extensive diversity of the goods being carried, with no particular category (SITC 2 digit level) dominating. The four most important categories accounted for 20.6% of the containerized trade volumes in 2015:
- Miscellaneous manufactures (SITC 89) include articles made of plastics (e.g. bags), toys, sporting goods, or office supplies. The manufacturing of these goods has been highly impacted by outsourcing and offshoring since it requires significant labor input.
- Electrical machinery (SITC 77) includes machines powered by electricity, such as electric cables, appliances, batteries, and integrated circuits. The production of these goods has also been substantially internationalized, particularly for electronics.
- Vegetables and fruits (SITC 05) compose an important segment of transportation by refrigerated containers. This sector has been the object of notable growth with more reliable cold chain logistics.
- Textiles and made-up articles (SITC 65) include yarn, woven fiber, blankets, linen, curtains, and carpets. The textile industry has been the object of internationalization for several decades.