Maritime transport is the backbone of world trade and globalization. Twenty-four hours a day and all year round, ships carry cargoes to all corners of the globe. This role will continue to grow with the anticipated increase in world trade in the years to come as millions of people are expected to be lifted out of poverty through improved access to basic materials, goods and products. World trade and maritime transport are, therefore, fundamental to sustaining economic growth and spreading prosperity throughout the world, thereby fulfilling a critical social as well as an economic function.
Maritime transport will be indispensable in a sustainable future global economy, being the most energy efficient mode of mass cargo transport; in 2012 ships carried about 9.2 billion tonnes of cargo and over 2.1 billion passengers. Consequently, these environmental, social and economic dimensions of maritime transport are equally important and should be fully recognized in any strategy, policy, regulatory framework or action.
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