In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent crisis in Ukraine, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has introduced the Global Trade Data Portal. This initiative aims to tackle potential disruptions in global supply chains and mitigate risks to food security. The Portal provides timely and detailed data, facilitated by new information and communication technologies, allowing for improved monitoring of trade flows.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, “Data are the foundation of informed decision-making. We need timely data to support timely policy action and rule making.” 

The Global Trade Data Portal offers real-time insights into maritime grain trade, utilising cargo-tracking data from the global trade analytics platform Kpler. Additionally, the Portal offers visualisation tools based on WTO trade statistics and tariff data, as well as a list of freely accessible sources for trade-related statistics from other reputable organisations.

Recognising the growing concerns over food security, the WTO has collaborated with the International Grain Council (IGC) to introduce a dedicated dashboard focused on wheat. This dashboard provides comprehensive bi-weekly updates on international seaborne trade in wheat, which accounts for more than 80% of total traded volumes. 

The Portal also includes an interactive grain and oilseeds dashboard, updated every three hours, presenting short-term trade trends for various crops such as wheat, corn, barley, and soybeans.

Arnaud Petit, Executive Director of the International Grains Council, emphasised the importance of logistics and infrastructure in the evolving trade landscape, stating, “The paradigm of grains trade has switched abruptly from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case.’ Having real-time shipments information from 900 ports across 109 economies will provide a unique tool to assess and respond quickly to a fast-changing environment.”

The launch of the Global Trade Data Portal aligns with member requests for regular updates on trade and market developments, as outlined in the Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity adopted during the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference. 

This initiative complements existing tools from international organisations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, the UN World Food Programme, as well as the Agricultural Market Information System and the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program platforms, all working towards enhancing transparency and addressing food security challenges.

The WTO intends to develop additional dashboards in the upcoming months, aiming to provide real-time monitoring of evolving trade patterns. These initiatives will empower WTO members to effectively respond to the complex challenges that global trade presents today.