03/09/2019, 09.00
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A quarter of the world’s traded goods go through the Singapore Strait

The sea lane serves as a link for major markets in Europe, the Americas and China. Local authorities expect shipping to increase by 29 pe cent by 2025. On the optimistic side, the growing demand for goods is a symptom of economic growth.

Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nearly 100,000 ships pass through the 105 km-long Singapore Strait each year, carrying oil from the Mideast, iron ore into China, coal from Indonesia to India, accounting for about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods.

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence predicts shipping volumes in the Singapore to increase 29 per cent by 2025 linking the biggest consumer markets in Europe and the Americas and China, the world’s largest exporter.

A decade ago, the global recession created a maritime car park of apparent ghost ships in the Singapore Strait – vessels sat idle in the world’s busiest shipping lane as companies were going bust or did not have enough business to justify their use. Now there’s a similar stockpiling of ships in the strait, but it’s more like a traffic jam.

For experts, this is a sign of Singapore’s importance, where shipping increased by 10 per cent in 2018.

A growing global population that is getting materially richer means a burgeoning demand for goods and a brighter future for the region, and, optimists believe, for the world.

Shipping and logistics companies agree that the Singapore Strait is more efficient than other well-known routes like the Suez and Panama canals that serve as gateways to other continents.

Nevertheless, 75 accidents or collisions were recorded last year. So far in 2019, a Dominican-registered supply boat has sunk, a cable-laying ship capsized after colliding with a tanker and a Greek-registered bulk carrier hit a stationary Malaysian vessel.

The most notable accident in recent memory occurred in August 2017 when the USS John S McCain was involved in a collision with an oil tanker that killed ten American sailors.

Although there are negative elements such as pollution, maritime safety and piracy, the shipbuilding industry does not yet have a clear rival.

A container ship can carry 800 times more than a Boeing 747 and the global rail network is still limited in scope.

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