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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on shipping industry growth in 2020. With the world in lockdown, demand for non-essential consumer goods (and the means to ship them) decreased. Shipment of manufactured goods also decreased as factories closed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. On top of that, China — one of the world’s largest exporters — was at the center of the pandemic, leading several countries to stop trade with the nation altogether.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), maritime shipping industry growth will likely slow or remain flat in 2023, driven by inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine. For the overall 2023–2027 period, UNCTAD predicts growth at an annual average rate of 2.1%, slower than the previous 30-year average of 3.3%.

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