Flooding in Queensland, Australia has had a huge impact on exports; up to 30 million tonnes of iron ore were unable to be dug out, processed and shipped to China and elsewhere after the mines were flooded. Exports dropped by 8.7 per cent in the three months to March, the biggest quarterly fall in 37 years.
More than 90 per cent of the world’s goods are carried by ocean-going vessels; weather conditions and the boom-bust nature of the shipping sector are crucial factors in global trade. In good years, the shipping industry makes huge profits, but natural disasters in commodity producing countries reduce trading activity accross the world.
Apart from the Australian floods, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster in March also hit the shipping industry.