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Although ﬁgures 5 and 6 are not to the same scale, they both show
nearly a doubling of cargo, by weight, over identical time spans.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology
Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, based on data from
Oceanborne cargo-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Review
of Maritime Transport, various issues, available at www.unctad.org/rmt as of
Oct. 3, 2009.
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), special tabulations, Sept. 28, 2009.
- In 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, the volume of worldwide
international oceanborne cargo reached more than 8 billion tons. During the past decade, the
annual average growth rate was about 3 percent.
- Worldwide international air cargo reached 28 million tons in 2007, growing at an annual
average rate of 5 percent over the past decade. This growth trend reflects continuing
globalization of economic activities and increasing adoption of inventory management
- By weight, the overwhelming majority of global overseas merchandise trade is carried by
ocean vessel rather than airplane (excluding land modes of transportation). While generally
ocean vessels transport low value-per-ton commodities (e.g., crude oil, grains, and coal),
container vessels transport high value-per-ton manufactured goods of all kinds, such as
automobiles, appliances, computer equipment, and apparel.