UNCTAD REPORT: FREIGHT COSTS KEEP FALLING
Freight costs for oceanborne cargoes continue to fall
worldwide, but there are variations between different shipping sectors and regions,
according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
"World total freight payments as a proportion of total import value (the
freight factor) have been on a downward trend," the trade body said. The freight
ratio decreased from as high as 6.64 percent in 1980 to 5.24 percent in 1997, it said.
The freight factor for the developed market economy countries decreased to
4.40 per cent in 1990 to 4.17 per cent in 1997. Freight costs for developing countries
also decreased, but remained higher than in the developed world. Developing countries saw
the freight-to-shipment value ratio decline to 8.04 per cent in 1997, from 8.60 per cent
The UNCTAD report, "Review of Maritime Transport 1999," said that
Oceania had the highest freight cost ratio, at 12.36 percent, followed by Africa, at 11.53
In 1998, dry bulk rates dropped mainly because of the Asian financial crisis,
but container freight rates moved upwards or downwards depending on the trade route and
direction, UNCTAD reported.
UNCTAD also predicted that world seaborne trade volumes will witness a
"moderate recovery" in 2000, following relatively low growth rates in 1998 and
1999. In 1998, world seaborne trade exceeded 5 billion tons for the first time, reaching
5.064 billion tons.