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Maritime traffic

Global shipping is expected to grow by 4% per year.

The Mediterranean already carries about 15% of global shipping. The increased capacity of the Suez Canal has doubled the number of cargo ships which pass through the Mediterranean with its continuous flow of noise and gas emissions.

In line with the global expansion of seaborne trade, shipping activity in the Mediterranean is growing in terms of the number of routes, traffic intensity and size of ships. And with this growth come increasing environmental impacts, such as chemical pollution, noise pollution and collisions with marine mammals.

The Mediterranean sees a very high level of maritime transport. The sector generates an annual gross added value of €27 billion, provides jobs for some 550,000 people, and is projected to grow by 4% per annum for the next decade. This means more routes, more traffic and bigger ships. This growth brings increasing environmental impacts, such as chemical pollution, noise pollution and collisions with marine mammals.

Vulnerable areas are by definition at greater risk of such impacts, and as far as possible traffic needs to be routed to avoid them, particularly MPAs. Clean technology should be promoted to minimise pollution. Cross-border and regional cooperation is needed given the geographical scale over which the shipping sector operates.

Annual density of cargo vessels crossing and / or passing MPAs and other conservation areas of the Mediterranean
Maritime traffic

In all MPAs, shipping activities with the most serious potential environmental impacts – such as the transport of dangerous goods or hydrocarbons – should be avoided altogether.

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