For decades, the shipping industry has been a pretty secretive place. While companies are quickly working on transparency of the supply chain itself, the ins and outs of all things sea freight are still pretty foreign to anyone outside of the tight-lipped freighting community. Here at Barrington Freight, however, we want to give you a little insight into some pretty fascinating facts about the shipping industry you probably never knew.
- Sea Freight Is The Greenest Method
When it comes down to greenhouse gasses, you might be surprised to know that sea freight container ships actually release barely a fraction of any other shipping method available. In most cases, the truck used to pick up and drop off the shipments from door to port and back will emit more harmful chemicals than the ship! Sounds great, right? Well, in reality, this isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. When putting all of the shipping industry together, the emissions would be so high that the industry would hit sixth place in the current list of most polluted countries.
- Pirates Still Exist!
They might not be the peg-legged, parrot-wielding movie characters that we’re used to, but pirates are still a big problem in the shipping industry. In 2012 alone, the rate of pirate attacks reached a higher number than the volume of crime in South Africa and ever since, around 2,000 seafarers die at sea. What’s more, two ships are lost daily!
- It’s A Male-Dominated Industry
Did you know that 98% of all seafarers are male? The shipping industry has an undeniable shortage of women, with only 2% of the entire workforce being female currently. The reason for this isn’t certain, but further equality could be needed!
- Container Ships Are Huge And Expensive To Build
You may have seen a container ship passing at some point in your life, but do you really know how big that ship is? Nowadays, TEU vessels can carry a whopping 18,000 and 22,000 containers dependant on the ship and more and more companies are ordering these vessels for their companies. With a ship of that size, you can bet that these companies are paying a lot for the privilege. Container ships have been known to cost over $200 million to build.
- Container Spotting Is A Thing
Okay, so this isn’t a part of the industry exactly, but you may be surprised to know that ‘container spotting’ is a legitimate pastime of unknown numbers of people across the world. Whether they have a history in container shipping and are just interested in where the industry is going, or they just find a sort of satisfaction in the act in a similar way to bird or trainspotting, this pastime is there, and there’s even a guide available!
- Most Containers Aren’t Checked At Customs
A surprisingly low number of containers are checked at customs nowadays, with less than 10% usually checked over by officials. Don’t let that fool you, however – there’s no point in taking risks, as the checks are often random, so it’s best to keep well in customs regulations to be safe.
- The US Military Invented Containers As We Know Them
Crates and bulk shipments used to make up the entirety of the shipping industry, but Malcolm McLean, a member of the military, invented what would be known as the first container in 1956. Modern containers are slightly different, but he certainly paved the way for much-needed changes.
- There Are A Lot Of Containers Crossing The Oceans Right Now
At this very moment in time, as you read this sentence, there is around 20 million containers on ships crossing the ocean. There are over 55,000 container ships also on the oceans or in docks, and 1.5million seafarers manning or planning to man them.
So there you have it, 8 things you never knew about the shipping industry. Hopefully, this has given you an insight into the sheer size of the entire sea freight market and a better understanding of the world we operate in.
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