China takes the top spot in a new ranking of the leading maritime nations globally.
China, including Hong Kong, is the world’s top maritime nation according to a new report from DNV GL and Menon Economics.
The Asian superpower comes top for both ‘Shipping’ and ‘Ports & Logistics’ — two of the four main pillars in the study, the other two being ‘Maritime Finance & Law’ and ‘Maritime Technology’. The US follows behind in second place overall, with Japan coming third overall and Germany, Norway and South Korea tied in fourth place. Greece comes seventh overall, the UK comes eighth, Singapore ninth and Denmark 13th.
Diving into detail
Previously, Menon Economics and DNV GL had examined the competitiveness and performance of maritime cities, and the companies plan to continue publishing reports ranking the world’s top maritime capitals. However, according to the authors of this new report, entitled The Leading Maritime Nations of the World 2018, this year the two companies chose to focus on the maritime industries of entire countries for two main reasons.
“Firstly, many countries have strong local clusters that are mutually dependent,” the study explains. “In Norway for example, the technological centre is in Trondheim, the deep-sea centre in Bergen, the offshore centre in Ålesund and the finance centre in Oslo. The US has various local centres spread out across the country, with New York being a home to ship finance and law, Houston … an offshore capital, a shipping hub in Seattle/Tacoma and the major portion of the ports and logistics activities centred around the LA/Long Beach area. Secondly, the political and institutional framework is mainly on the national, not on the city, level.”
The presence of several small, high income economies among the top 10 leading maritime nations indicates the importance of policy measures and public institutions
Thirty countries were included in the study, with Hong Kong included within China in the report. According to Menon Economics and DNV GL, all have robust positions as maritime nations across different factors to varying degrees. Each country was ranked according to size and magnitude on all of the four main document pillars and sub-groups within these pillars. The Shipping pillar was given greater weight in the calculations due to it “being the main engine of the entire maritime industry”.
The document’s authors say that China’s particularly robust position within ‘Shipping’ and ‘Ports & Logistics’ mirrors “its position as a global manufacturing hub”. They note that Singapore manages to get a top 10 position “as a small and young nation” and that “Norway and South Korea’s top rankings reveal that smaller, high income countries that place significant investment in research and development, focusing on technology, innovation and engineering capabilities for the entire marine shipbuilding ecosystem, could propel themselves into the top five”. The ranking of Greece, they claim, “shows that even smaller countries can still have significant influence and importance on a global scale”, with the nation in seventh position “due to its shipping business acumen and traditions”.
The US emerges top within the ‘Maritime Finance & Law’ pillar. The nation is followed, in order, by Norway, the UK, China and Japan. Within ‘Shipping’, Greece comes second after China (which is in the top spot), Japan comes third and the US comes fourth, with Germany ranked fifth. Meanwhile, as regards ‘Ports & Logistics’, the US comes second after China, while Singapore, the UAE and Germany come third, fourth and fifth respectively. Finally, within the ‘Maritime Technology’ category, South Korea comes first. Japan comes second, China comes third and Germany comes fourth. Fifth place goes to the US.
Commenting on the overall findings, the authors say: “The results are an indication of the overall development in a country over several decades, and to some extent mirror the economic growth and size of a nation’s economy. The presence of several small, high income economies among the top 10 leading maritime nations indicates the importance of policy measures and public institutions, including high investment in research and development, innovation and tertiary education focusing on the maritime sector at a national level. In our view, the leading position of these smaller nations is the most interesting finding of the study, considering that it would be natural to expect large, developed nations to be ranked at the top in correlation with the size of their national economy.” The authors also say that they perceive a strong correlation between a country’s success and GDP contribution, job generation and profits, noting that as more individuals are employed, more profits are created, organically generating other benefits for a country.
The authors also discuss the difference between the results of the new study and those of The Leading Maritime Capitals of the World 2017. They give the example of Singapore, which comes first overall in the latter and ninth in the former. The main reason for the difference, they claim, is Singapore’s status as a city-state — China and the US, on the other hand, are economic superpowers with a number of maritime centres. However, the authors also say that removing the ‘Attractiveness & Competitiveness’ area as a standalone pillar is another factor making the maritime nations report ranking different from that of the maritime capitals study — Singapore would have ranked higher had it been included standalone in the maritime nations ranking.
“Hence, the two benchmarks tell different stories — both true and important, but different,” the authors conclude.
The Baltic Exchange’s next Shipping Economics & Investment course will take place on January 14 and 15 in London. More information can be found here.