The major deep-sea trades cross the Atlantic and the Pacific on the northern hemisphere. This reflects the location of the developed economies. These are also the nations most engaged in international trade. The container and car trades are typical for this trading pattern. There are of course some changes in the trading pattern over time. The main change since the 1990s is the rising share of world trade to and from China and the growth in the inter-Asian trades.
Figure 9: Intensity of shipping routes during one year.
The trade patterns differs among the main bulk cargoes since the raw materials, such as crude oil, coal, iron ore, grain, phosphate and alumna are located differently across the globe. Some of the greater trades originate in the southern hemisphere. Figure 3.9 below reports Fearnleys illustration of crude oil trade routes in 2001. For the current routes in dry bulk trades, see http://www.people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/
Figure 10: Trade pattern, crude oil in 2001. (Mill metric tons, billion tonne-miles in parentheses)
Source: Fearnleys (2002)