OREANDA-NEWS. Maritime transport plays an essential role in the international trade in goods of the European Union (EU). In 2015, the value of EU trade in goods with third countries (non-EU countries) carried by sea was estimated at close to €1,777 bn, accounting for about 51% of EU trade in goods. In detail, 53% of EU imports entered the EU by sea, while shipping represented 48% of EU exports to third countries.

The use of maritime transport for EU trade in goods has slightly increased over the last ten years: in 2006, less than half (47%) of the EU trade in goods with third countries was conducted by sea

Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, all located on the North Sea coast, were the top 3 EU cargo ports in 2014, accounting together for almost a fifth (19.2%) of the gross weight of goods handled in EU ports.

On the occasion of World Maritime Day, celebrated on 29 September under the theme "Shipping: indispensable to the world", Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, is publishing a selection of data on international trade in goods by sea as well as on maritime freight transport. More information on those topics is available in the Eurostat database.

Portugal, Cyprus and Greece on top for international trade in goods by sea

Shipping was the main mode of transport in a majority of Member States in 2015. The highest shares of trade in goods with non-EU countries carried by sea were recorded in Portugal (81% of trade value), Cyprus (80%), Greece (77%), Spain (74%), Malta (67%), Italy (61%) and Finland (60%). Shares of over 50% were also reported by the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, Denmark and Germany

At the opposite end of the scale, maritime transport was less significant in the extra-EU trade in goods of the Czech Republic (12%) and Luxembourg (19%), followed by Ireland and Latvia (both 27%), Austria (31%) and Croatia (35%).