Maritime Transport Cost
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The Maritime Transport Costs (MTC)database contains data from 1991 to the most recent available year of bilateral maritime transport costs. Transport costs are available for 43 importing countries (including EU15 countries as a custom union) from 218 countries of origin at the detailed commodity (6 digit) level of the Harmonized System 1988.

This dataset should only be used in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport which outlines methodology, data coverage and caveats to its use.

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The data collection was undertaken by the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) from a variety of different sources. The database includes original customs data as well estimates:

  • Customs data provide full information - transport costs at the most detailed product level from all destinations. These data are available, however, only for a limited number of countries: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, as well Argentina and Brazil. Customs data have also been collected for the other member countries of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) directly from this source.
  • For the other importer countries, for which data are available only at a more aggregated level (i.e., not for specific products), a combination of shipping rates actually charged data with the UN Comtrade statistics have been used to estimate actual transport costs at the product level. The shipping rates have been collected from selected sources, such as: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Containerisation International, Drewry Shipping Consultants, International Grains Council (IGC), and the Baltic Exchange.
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The maritime shipping modes are broken into four categories:

  • Clean or dry bulk carriers generally transport grains, oilseeds, and sugar,
  • Dirty or industrial goods bulk: bulk carriers transport of "dirty bulk" goods, like iron ore, coal, bauxite and other industrial raw materials,
  • Tankers: which typically transport petroleum, petroleum products and some liquid chemicals, and
  • Containers: used to transport most of the manufactured goods and an increasing amount of agricultural products.
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Maritime Transport Costs data are disseminated at 2 and 6 digits HS 1988:

At commodity level (6 digit HS), maritime transport costs are displayed using three measures:

  • Transport cost: the total cost expressed in USD (insurance plus freight) of transporting all of the given product during the given year,
  • Unit transport cost: transport cost per kilogramme, or in other words, the cost in USD required to transport one kilogramme of merchandise, and
  • Ad valorem equivalent: transport cost divided by the  total import value, i.e. the share transport cost represents in the total import value of the product.

At chapter level (2 digit HS), the transport costs are the sum of the corresponding 6 digits commodities. The unit cost and ad valorem cost are then the transport costs at chapter level divided respectively by sum of the weights at 6 digits, and by the sum of the import values at 6 digits.

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Import charges represent the aggregate cost of all freight, insurance and other charges (excluding import duties) incurred in bringing the merchandise from alongside the carrier at the port of export and placing it alongside the carrier at the first port of entry in the importing country.  Insurance charges are therefore included in the transport cost variables and are estimated to be approximately 1.5% of the import value of the merchandise.
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As coverage is not comprehensive (cf. MTC database inventory, above), any aggregation of the data over countries or products should be treated with caution and conclusions should be drawn from it only in light of which data are actually available within the subset that have been aggregated.

This dataset should only be used in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport which outlines methodology, data coverage and caveats to its use.

Maritime Transport CostName of collection/source

The Maritime Transport Costs (MTC)database contains data from 1991 to the most recent available year of bilateral maritime transport costs. Transport costs are available for 43 importing countries (including EU15 countries as a custom union) from 218 countries of origin at the detailed commodity (6 digit) level of the Harmonized System 1988.

This dataset should only be used in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport which outlines methodology, data coverage and caveats to its use.

Korinek, Jane (2011), “Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport”, OECD, Paris.http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/20/44387935.pdfDirect source

The data collection was undertaken by the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) from a variety of different sources. The database includes original customs data as well estimates:

  • Customs data provide full information - transport costs at the most detailed product level from all destinations. These data are available, however, only for a limited number of countries: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, as well Argentina and Brazil. Customs data have also been collected for the other member countries of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) directly from this source.
  • For the other importer countries, for which data are available only at a more aggregated level (i.e., not for specific products), a combination of shipping rates actually charged data with the UN Comtrade statistics have been used to estimate actual transport costs at the product level. The shipping rates have been collected from selected sources, such as: the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Containerisation International, Drewry Shipping Consultants, International Grains Council (IGC), and the Baltic Exchange.
Statistical population

In order to facilitate the data selection of interest to the user, the following link gives information on the data availability by origin and destination countries, for each type of goods and transport mode:

MTC database inventoryhttp://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/19/1/44531406.xls
Sector coverage

The maritime shipping modes are broken into four categories:

  • Clean or dry bulk carriers generally transport grains, oilseeds, and sugar,
  • Dirty or industrial goods bulk: bulk carriers transport of &quot;dirty bulk&quot; goods, like iron ore, coal, bauxite and other industrial raw materials,
  • Tankers: which typically transport petroleum, petroleum products and some liquid chemicals, and
  • Containers: used to transport most of the manufactured goods and an increasing amount of agricultural products.
Product coverage

Maritime Transport Costs data are disseminated at 2 and 6 digits HS 1988:

At commodity level (6 digit HS), maritime transport costs are displayed using three measures:

  • Transport cost: the total cost expressed in USD (insurance plus freight) of transporting all of the given product during the given year,
  • Unit transport cost: transport cost per kilogramme, or in other words, the cost in USD required to transport one kilogramme of merchandise, and
  • Ad valorem equivalent: transport cost divided by the  total import value, i.e. the share transport cost represents in the total import value of the product.

At chapter level (2 digit HS), the transport costs are the sum of the corresponding 6 digits commodities. The unit cost and ad valorem cost are then the transport costs at chapter level divided respectively by sum of the weights at 6 digits, and by the sum of the import values at 6 digits.

Key statistical concept
Import charges represent the aggregate cost of all freight, insurance and other charges (excluding import duties) incurred in bringing the merchandise from alongside the carrier at the port of export and placing it alongside the carrier at the first port of entry in the importing country.&nbsp; Insurance charges are therefore included in the transport cost variables and are estimated to be approximately 1.5% of the import value of the merchandise.
Recommended uses and limitations

As coverage is not comprehensive (cf. MTC database inventory, above), any aggregation of the data over countries or products should be treated with caution and conclusions should be drawn from it only in light of which data are actually available within the subset that have been aggregated.

This dataset should only be used in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport which outlines methodology, data coverage and caveats to its use.

Korinek, Jane (2011), “Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport”, OECD, Paris.http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/20/44387935.pdf