Maritime transport, shipping and ports | Compendium Coast and Sea

Maritime transport, shipping and ports

Currently, more than 80% of the globally traded goods are transported by sea. In 2019, 11.1 billion tonnes of goods were transported by seagoing ships. On the 1st of January 2020, the world merchant fleet consisted of 98,140 ships, equalling a total of 2.1 billion DWT (dead-weight tonnage). In 2020, Belgium had 301 seagoing ships, comprising 1.5% of the global DWT. The Belgian sea ports are situated at some of the busiest trade routes worldwide (over 150,000 ship movements a year), in the so-called Le Havre-Hamburg range. The total traffic in the Le Havre-Hamburg range in 2019 was 1.2 billion tonnes, with the Flemish ports accounting for a market share of 26.1%.

In the ‘Thematic chapter’, an overview is given of the scientific knowledge, socioeconomic data and legal aspects of the user function ‘Maritime transport, shipping and ports’ for the Belgian part of the North Sea. The international, European, federal and Flemish legislation applicable to this activity is discussed in more detail under ‘Legislation’, while the figures and background data can be consulted in an interactive way through the ‘Coastal portal’. More information about the available expertise regarding maritime transport, shipping and ports within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be consulted by clicking ‘Research groups’ and ‘Infrastructure’, respectively.