Shipping facts that you did not know about

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March 16, 2018

The shipping industry is one of the most fascinating sectors in the world. While it is often wrongly accused of being an antiquated and outdated method of transport, in reality, things could not be any more different. The shipping sector is responsible for a large proportion of the world trade that occurs.

If it wasn’t for shipping, you probably would not be able to enjoy that iPhone that you love so much or that new car that you have been waiting for years to purchase. For an industry that has been around for centuries, you really do not hear of a lot of fun shipping facts being thrown around. To fill the void, here are fun facts about shipping that you probably did not know about:

Shipping fuels the world economy

Approximately 90% of the world trade is facilitated by the shipping sector. More than 20 million merchant ships can be found operating across the globe at any one time. That is the same number of inhabitants in Sri Lanka, which is categorized as the 58th most highly inhabited country in the world. There are more than 1.5 million people that work as seafarers and the number is slated to be on the rise in the next few years.

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, more than 50,000 merchant ships made up of bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships are currently involved in the business, transporting various types of cargos on daily basis. As a matter of fact, the entry of more containership to the market has revolutionized the blueprint of global trade over the past few decades enormously.

Greenest form of transportation

Container ships are some of the greenest forms of transportation out there. Compared to other modes of transportation such as trucks and airplanes, container ships consume a lot less fuel, which results in fewer greenhouse emissions. To deal with environmental pollution, more and more shipping companies are using technology to reduce the shipping industry’s carbon footprint.

The worst communication ever

When ships are out at sea, almost two-thirds of the ships and their crew members have no way of communicating with the Ocean Transportation Intermediary or the OTI apart from the captain and a few other essential members of the crew. As such, crew members tend to be isolated from friends and family members, as well as any means of entertainment for weeks on end. So the next time you get your long awaited package, try and think about all the crew members that sacrificed to have it shipped to you.

Megaships exist

Megaships, which are otherwise known as containerships are designed specifically for the purpose of holding and transporting huge quantities of cargo compacted in different sizes of containers. Presently, there are about 7 types of containerships in service all over the world with the largest being OOCL Hong Kong. The OOCL Hong Kong is a long Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV), standing at 399.87 meters and has a carrying capacity at 21,413 TEU. The world’s largest ship is capable of transporting more than 745 million bananas.

Champions in the shipping game

Germany, Japan, and Greece have the world’s biggest shipping fleets. Meanwhile, the Philippines produces more shipping professionals and seafarers than any other country.

It is the least expensive mode of transport

Of all the transport solutions that are utilized in the shipping industry, shipping is the most affordable one to use. The final quote prices are often based on the size of the cargo rather than its weight. Therefore, if you are looking to transport large expensive cargo like transporting a car from Japan to Kenya, then shipping would be your best bet to save money.

Pirate threats are still real

The rate of pirate attacks has reduced over the years, but the number of cases reported is still very high. For instance, pirate attacks happening off the coast of Somalia were higher in 2012 than violent assaults in South Africa, which experiences some of the highest crime rates in the world. Each year more than 2,000 sailors lose their lives as a result of pirate attacks.


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