A commercial overview of shipping in the European Union
It is almost pointless to study European Union (“EU”) shipping law without understanding its commercial context. This chapter is a somewhat general and non-exhaustive introduction to the commercial background to shipping and ports in the EU. The chapter relies heavily on statistics published by the EU, the United Nations 1 and various other groups. 2 It describes the picture at the EU and Member State levels. This overview relates primarily to shipping activities (in the narrow sense) but it is important to remember that shipping is not a single industry but is instead interconnected with, and related to, many other economic activities such as shipbuilding, ports, ship repair, tourism, pilotage, shipbroking, marine insurance, stevedoring, shipping finance, maritime law and so on. The data outlined in this chapter includes some historical data so as to put the whole picture into context. While some of the data vary (depending on the source of the data), the general trends are clear-cut.
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