Source: UNCTAD, Review of Maritime Transport.
World Tonnage by Cargo Vessel Type, 1970-2012 (in millions dwt)
For decades, oil tankers and bulk carriers have accounted for the
dominant share of the world's tonnage. Their service configuration
is relatively simple as they perform point-to-point services with
the return trip empty because of their cargo specialization (e.g.
oil, iron ore, grain). Between 2000 and 2012, the world tonnage has
almost doubled (92% growth), propelled by
a surge in global trade. This questions the sustainability of this
growth and may confer a situation of overcapacity, particularly for
containerized shipping which has grown in tonnage by 187% for the same period.
The ongoing growth of the global fleet tonnage after the financial
crisis of 2008 is underlining an acute potential for overcapacity.