That compares with four per cent growth in 2018, and makes the growth figure the weakest since 2009, when volumes fell on the back of the global financial crisis.
Despite a significant traffic surge in December on the transpacific trade, as box numbers jumped 7.7 per cent versus November, the overall count in 2019 on headhaul Far East-North America services fell 2.5 per cent compared with 2018 to 18.8 million TEU, according to CTS.
Although strong performances were reported on other trades, extra volumes elsewhere were able to only partially offset the shortfall.
The US increased its seaborne exports of crude oil by 51 per cent year on year to 133 million tonnes in 2019, according to shipping association BIMCO, helped by a record-breaking month for shipments in December.
An all-time high of 13.9 million tonnes was recorded in December, up from 9.3 million tonnes in December 2018 and 11.2 million tonnes the previous month.
In an update earlier this week, BIMCO said that because of the US shale revolution, the country became a net seaborne crude oil exporter in October 2019, and the record-breaking exports in December solidified the trend as imports for the month reached 11.5 million tonnes.
BIMCO expects the US to become a net seaborne crude oil exporter on an annual basis for the first time in 2020.