With globalization becoming a common phenomenon of today’s world, easy trade of goods between countries becomes an important aspect for maintaining positive trade relations. Shipping continues to be the dominant mode of transport for global trade, accounting for almost two-thirds of world trade.
Shipping is the lifeblood of the global economy without which, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials, and the import/export of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible. Did you know, that the international shipping industry is responsible for the carriage of around 90 percent of world trade?
To understand the importance of ocean shipping, let us look at some of its key benefits mentioned below –
- Suitable for wide range of products with long lead times
- Suitable for large volumes of cargo; a single, ultra-large container ship can carry ~20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU)
- Most environmental friendly among all modes of transport
- Most economical and efficient mode of transporting goods
- Extensive coverage around the world
- Multiple carrier options for the shippers
One thing to note about the ocean shipping industry is that it leaves sufficient scope to accommodate all kinds of shipment needs and requirements. Depending upon the varied needs of international traders and types of cargo different types of ship are used to transport goods around the world. To understand the different kinds of ships used for ocean shipping, let us look at the following list –
- Container ships (or ‘box ships’) for cargo packed into standard 20′ or 40′ containers stacked both on and below deck. Smaller ‘feeder’ ships carry containers on coastal and inland waters.
- Roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessels for both road haulage and passenger vehicles.
- General cargo ships for loose-packaged cargos of all types.
- Bulk carriers for unpackaged goods – usually large volumes of single-commodity goods such as grain, coal, fertilizers, and more.
- Tankers for liquids (such as oil and gas) in bulk.
- Merchant ships primarily do business in two different ways:
- Liner vessels operate on fixed routes, to fixed schedules and usually with a standard tariff. Liner trades are dominated by container ships, roll-on/roll-off carriers, and general cargo ships.
- Charter (‘tramp’) vessels operate entirely according to the demands of the person chartering them. Their ports of loading and discharge are set by the charter, as is their cost, which depends on immediate supply and demand conditions. Most tankers and bulk carriers operate in the charter markets.
Seaborne trade is one of the oldest and most trusted modes of transporting goods across the globe and it still continues to expand, bringing benefits for consumers across the world through competitive freight costs. Thanks to the growing efficiency of shipping as a mode of transport and increased economic liberalization and digitalization, the industry is changing shape sharply which is leading to make it more efficient and convenient. The prospects for the industry’s further growth thus continue to be strong.
The Process of Ocean Shipping primarily begins with the freight forwarder booking space or containers with the shipping agent, following which the cargo is trucked to the shipping line at the port of origin. Upon the arrival of the cargo at the port of origin, export clearance is obtained and the cargo is finally shipped overseas to the importer at the port of destination.