Asian Countries Soar in New UNCTAD Shipping Connectivity Report

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The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will this coming August 10, release a new port liner shipping connectivity index for more than 900 ports, as well as new statistics regarding port calls and time spent in ports.

The UNCTAD liner shipping connectivity index (LSCI) for 2019 is showing countries that have improved or worsened their positions in maritime transport networks.

China has retained her lead as the country best connected to others by sea, the index shows. The country’s LSCI has increased by 51% since 2006.

UNCTAD’s Chief of Trade Logistics, Jan Hoffmann, said ‘’a country’s position in the global container shipping network – its connectivity – is an important determinant of its trade costs and competitiveness.’’

Five of the top 10 best connected economies in 2019 are in Asia, with Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong (China), and Malaysia rounding out the top-five list, each with a score of more than 100, according to the index’s metrics.

At the other end of the table, small islands developing states (SIDS) have hardly seen any improvement, meaning trade in shipped goods remains problematic in those countries, with knock-on economic effects.

‘’We observe a ‘connectivity divide’ – a growing difference – between the best and worst connected countries’’, Hoffmann said.

The LSCI covers 178 countries and shows maritime connectivity trends from 2006 to 2019. It is calculated from data on the world’s container ship deployment and released annually.

This year UNCTAD has expanded the time series in collaboration with MDS Transmodal to cover more countries, including several SIDS.
Additional resources on LSCI and maritime connectivity:

The 2019 index also includes a new component covering countries that can be reached without the need for transhipment.

‘’Counting on a direct regular shipping connection has empirically been shown to help reduce trade costs and increase trade volumes’’, Hoffmann said.

Research shows that the absence of a direct connection is associated with a 42% lower value of bilateral exports.

The other five components of the index remain unchanged – the number of companies that provide shipping services, the number of services, the number of ships that call per month, the total deployed container-carrying capacity, and the size of the largest vessel.

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