Source: UNCTAD (2009) Transport Newsletter #43.
Transshipment Requirements for Liner Shipping Connections between Pairs of Countries, 2009
A direct shipping connection is defined as two countries that can be connected through a shipping route, which could be constituted of a series of ports of call. It is technically and economically impossible to establish direct shipping connections between every country. There may not be enough volume to justify a direct service or the ports may be far too distant from one another. Unlike bulk shipping, container shipping networks are established as sequences of port calls along a route between maritime facades. Therefore, a set of direct or transshipments connections are required to link all country pairs by maritime shipping. Only 17% of all country pairs are directly connected, while 62% of all country pairs require at least one transshipment and 18.6% of all pairs require two transshipments. The above graph can be slightly misleading since the great majority of the largest economies, such as China, Japan, the United States and several Western European countries, are directly connected. It is the smaller economies that are not directly connected. The smaller the economy, the less likely it is to be directly linked.