World Seaborne Trade by Cargo Type, 1970-2018

World Seaborne Trade by Cargo Type, 1970-2018

Source: UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport, various years. Major dry bulks are iron ore, grain, and coal.

Weight-wise, raw materials dominate maritime trade as they are ponderous and carried over long distances. Oil, iron ore, coal, and grain accounted for 28% of the ton-miles carried by maritime shipping, while other dry cargoes, which include containers, accounted for 40%. Oil is the most significant commodity, with 25% of ton-miles in 2018, but this share is significantly lower than in 1970 when it accounted for 60% of global ton-miles.