London is world's top maritime spot as trade jumps

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LONDON, Sep 24 (Reuters) London remains the world's leading maritime centre fuelled by growing seaborne trade and booming demand for new ships, according to a report released on Monday.

The International Financial Servces, London (IFSL) report said the British capital led the way in key sectors of the industry which has been bouyed by a 48 percent increase in seaborne trade to 30 trillion tonne miles from 1996 to 2006.

London's 400 shipbroking firms matched vessels and cargoes for 50 percent of tankers and 30-40 percent of the dry bulk chartering business, said the IFSL, a private body set up to promote UK-based financial services and institutions.

Commercial banks based in the city also provided billion for ship finance, equivalent to 18 percent of the world book which overall had grown by a third from 0 billion to 5 billion between 2005-7.

''London and the UK is a leading source of capital and expertise for marine insurance, ship-chartering, shipping finance, ship classification, legal and accounting services and dispute resolution,'' the IFSL report said.

REUTERS SR HT2052

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