Quiz: What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

For those of you who don’t subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you’re missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works. The question I’d like to highlight this week is: What percentage of world trade is carried on ships? a) 40 percent    ...

JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

For those of you who don't subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you're missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.

The question I'd like to highlight this week is:

What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

For those of you who don’t subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you’re missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.

The question I’d like to highlight this week is:

What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

a) 40 percent    b) 60 percent    c) 80 percent

Answer after the jump …

Answer:

C, 80 percent, by volume. Ships may move slowly, but they can carry far more cargo than more recently invented modes of transportation such as planes, trains, and trucks, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in its "Review of Maritime Transport 2009."

When it comes to which countries have the largest fleets of merchant ships, Japan overtook Greece in 2008 to have the largest controlled fleet, as measured by both number of ships and deadweight tonnage. Eighty percent of those 3,720 ships, though, don’t fly the Japanese flag, instead flying "flags of convenience," such as that of Panama. In fact, 21 percent of the world’s merchant ships fly the Panamanian flag.

And for more questions about how the world works, check out the rest of the FP Quiz.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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