Global seaborne trade will more than double by 2030 as China’s rapidly growing economy fuels demand for commodities, a report by ship classifier Lloyd’s Register, defense technology firm Qinetiq and the University of Strathclyde showed on Monday.

(CM Editor’s Note: Lloyd’s Register is not affiliated with Lloyd’s of London.)

World seaborne trade will reach between 19 and 24 billion tonnes a year by 2030 compared to the current 9 billion tonnes now, the report entitled “Global Marine Trends 2030” showed.

Some 90 percent of world trade by volume is carried by sea, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“What is striking is that even in the most negative of the scenarios envisaged, maritime growth is strong,” said Richard Sadler, chief executive of Lloyd’s Register.

“China, consuming three-times as much oil as it does today and 60 percent of the world’s coal, will be the marketplace for maritime trade.”

The study used three factors—population growth, economic development and resource demand—to help predict what the maritime trade, marine power and offshore energy sectors could look like in 2030.

China will experience the most growth in fleet ownership of all regions in the world to rival the shares of traditionally large owners Greece and other European countries, the report said.

China’s share of fleet ownership will rise to 19-24 percent by 2030 from 15 percent in 2010, while Japan’s share will decline to 5.6-6.7 percent, from 12 percent today.

In the shipbuilding market, tankers are the only type of ship set to see a decline in delivery over the next 20 years, the report said.

The bulk of new builds, as much as 55 percent, will be done by China, while South Korea will account for up to 27 percent.

China will overtake North America to become the world’s largest oil consumer by 2030, nearly tripling its consumption from 2011. World oil consumption is seen growing to 6.6 billion tonnes from 4.4 billion in 2010.

The report also showed that world coal consumption will more than double by 2030 to around 8.4 billion tonnes of oil equivalent from 3.5 billion in 2010, with China accounting for 60 percent of consumption.

Natural gas consumption will also double to 5.4 billion tonnes by 2030 from 2.7 billion in 2010, with the United States remaining the biggest consumer.

(Editing by Keiron Henderson)