Trade Intensity by Ocean, 1980-2020

Trade Intensity by Ocean 1980 2020

Note: Measured by port TEU activity along oceanic ranges. The Indian Ocean includes the Persian Gulf.

Since the 1980s, a significant rebalancing of the intensity of trade by ocean has taken place, particularly over containerized trade. As the international trade taking place over the Pacific Ocean increased, the Atlantic Ocean experienced a relative decline in its share. While the Atlantic accounted for 49% of global trade activity in 1980, this share decreased by more than half to 20% in 2020. The share of the Indian Ocean doubled to 12%, but this figure does not account for the substantial traffic transiting along the Asia / Mediterranean / European trade route. The share of the Mediterranean has declined slightly to around 8%. Still, the Mediterranean, like the Indian Ocean, is a significant transit point along major Asia/Europe trade routes.