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Substances transported

Each country or region of the world has its own statistics in terms of maritime HNS transport and no global system currently exists to centralize these data.

It is however possible to provide a overview of HNS transported around the world by ship in bulk liquid form (including gases). In 2007, 155.6 million tonnes of liquid goods were transported, which can be divided into three main categories:

  • 50 % were petrochemical• products, such as benzene, xylenes and styrene,
  • 30 % were animal or vegetable oils and fats such as palm oil,
  • 10 % were inorganic substances such as mineral salts, most ores, certain corrosive• substances (caustic soda, sulphuric and phosphoric acid) and certain gases (ammonia•, chlorine),
  • 10 % were miscellaneous products, grouped together in a separate category.
Did you know?

Palm oil exports, mainly shipped from Malaysia and Indonesia, dominate the vegetable oil trade. This oil is used in margarine and ready meals.

The 15 bulk HNS most handled in European ports

Vegetable oils are used in foods and in the manufacture of biofuels•. Methanol is mainly used to produce formalin, commonly used in permanent glues, and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a very common additive in unleaded gasoline.
Benzene is used to obtain ethylbenzene which in turn is used to produce styrene. Styrene forms polystyrene by polymerization. Caustic soda is used in the composition of soaps, detergents and plastics. Xylenes, derivatives of benzene, are solvents• used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, glues and printing inks.
For more information, see the “Index of main uses”.