MSc in International Trade and Shipping Management

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeITSM511
Course Unit Details
Number of ECTS credits allocated6
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Understand the significant role of commodities in the globalized economic context.
  2. Understand the fundamentals of the main commodities and commodity categories.
  3. Understand the operation and the trading patterns of the international commodity markets.
  4. Analyze any individual commodity market and present their research findings.
  5. Understand the commodity risks and identify the potential threats of the commodity markets.
  6. Critically analyze the role and function of International Commodity Trade Associations in regulating and influencing International trade.
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course Contents•Trade Information and sources: Trade movements, Supply and Demand of commodities, Industrial manufacturing and other reasons for trade movements. Price differentials and security of supply. Linkages between economic growth and bulk commodity movements.
•The importance of China: its growth and impact on commodity demand; imports and exports.
•The importance of steel and other key drivers and their influence on other commodities.
•Data Analysis: Data collection and reporting, timeless and inadequacy coverage. Forecasting of trade movements, local supply and inventories, local demand.
•Structure of the dry bulk trade: Major importers and exporters, importance of transport requirements.
•Structure of the Oil Trade: Major producers and consumers, location of markets and refineries. Demand for oil and its relationship to economic growth. Political factors influencing oil production, location of refineries and demand for oil. Impact of new sources: e.g., shale oil.
•Structure of the other major commodity trades. Locations, Imports, exports and trading.
•International Trade Organisations and Trade Associations: The differences and roles of the two. Trade associations and their contracts and procedures. Trade association regulations and accreditation. Technical aspects, commodity specifications, measurement, sampling and analysis of commodities.
Recommended and/or required reading:
  • Caroline Bain, “The Economist Guide to Commodities”, Profile Books, 2013
  • UNCTAD "Review of Maritime Transport" ~ Latest Annual edition published approximately early December each year – free of charge and available to download from
  • Martin Stopford, ‘Maritime Economics’, 3rd Edition, Routledge, 2009
  • Smil, V. “Oil”, Oneworld Publications, 2011
  • Yergin, D. “The Quest”, Penguin Books, 2012
  • BP, “Statistical Review of World Energy” – free available from approximately June each year
  • Sewell, T. “Grain, Carriage by Sea”, LLP press, 1999
  • Rogers, P. “ Coal, Carriage by Sea”, LLP press, 1997
  • Sparks, A. “ Steel, Carriage by Sea”, LLP press, 2003
  • Tamvakis, M. “Commodity Trade & Finance”, Informa UK Ltd, 2007
Planned learning activities and teaching methods
Assessment methods and criteria
Assignment Outline10%
Final Exam50%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO