Fun Facts About Shipping Industry

Updated on July 18, 2023

Freight and Marine Facts

Shipping containers may be one of the oldest industries in the world, but it's also one of the most important. Let's discuss fun facts about shipping conatiners in this blog.

Every year, more than 90% of all goods are moved by sea. And that doesn't even count the fact that shipping is responsible for more than half of all global trade—that's a lot of products coming in and out of ports around the world. If you've ever wondered why your favorite brand is only available online instead of in stores, or why you can't find a product anywhere near where you live (and it's been out for months), chances are it's because it came through a port somewhere on its way to you.

Did you know?

Ocean shipping is the greener form of shipping compared to Air and land transportation.

The shipping industry is a big one, and there are a lot of surprising sea shipping facts. Here are few of the most interesting shipping industry facts:

  1. The shipping industry is one of the oldest in the world, as well as one of the most important. Shipping is responsible for 90% of all international trade. Approximately 1.5 million people are employed in the maritime sector, and it's safe!
  2. Shipping is regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This means that all shipping companies must adhere to certain safety standards, which include training employees and ensuring they are adequately equipped to do their job—and all this at a time when many countries still don't have sewer systems!
  3. The largest container ships can carry up to 20,000 containers. They're 400 meters long and can weigh 200,000 tons—so they're not exactly easy to miss!
  4. It's hard to believe that a ship the size of a football field could carry the amount of cargo it takes to fill up a football stadium. But that's exactly what these massive ships do every day.

Did You Know?

Only about 3% to 10%  of containers are inspected worldwide.


5.  400 meter-long container ships can hold up to 20,000 containers. Approximately 200,000 container loads can be transported by a single large container ship in a year. Various vessels have different sizes and carrying capacities. It is possible for container ships to carry up to 8,000 containers of finished products and goods at one time. The capacity of some car carrier ships is 7,600 cars. It takes hundreds of freight planes, miles of wagons and a fleet of trucks to transport goods that can fit on a single large ship.

6.  There are approximately 55,000 merchant ships sailing the seas. There are six types of vessels in the merchant fleet: general cargo ships, bulk carriers, fishing vessels, container ships, cruise ships, and tankers. 97% of all shipping containers are built in China!

Do you know how much fuel it takes to move a container ship? It's more than 3,770 smart cars per kilometer.

7.  That's right—a large cargo ship uses 150-250 tons of fuel per day and requires as much fuel as 3,770 smart cars per kilometer.

8.  And while it can't go very fast, the engine on a container ship has about 1,000 times more power than an average family car. But these ships only travel 26.5 miles per hour!

9.  In a year, an average container ship travels the equal of 75% of its voyage to and from the moon during its normal voyage across the ocean.

Did You Know?

Shipping accounts for 90% of the total world trade.

10.  About 33% of the world’s ship crews have no means of communication while at sea. Only 10% have any internet access.

11.  Ships are high-value assets. It is estimated that the cost to build a large high-tech vessel can reach $200 million. Over half a trillion dollars are generated each year in freight rates by operating commercial vessels

12.  Maritime transport is a vital part of our daily lives. It brings us food, clothing, and other necessities that help us live as well as we can. Yet, at the same time, maritime transport plays a crucial role in the global economy and contributes to the safety and security of everyone who uses it.

13.  The United Nations agencies that regulate maritime transport all have different goals in mind when they try to ensure the safety of people who use the oceans for transportation. These agencies include the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which works with national governments to enforce global maritime safety regulations; the International Labour Organization (ILO), which works on issues related to labor rights; and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which works on issues related to environmental protection.

Did you know?

The Average Annual salary of a maritime worker ranges between $45,000 to $65,000.

14.  These agencies have developed a comprehensive framework of global maritime safety regulations that are implemented worldwide. These regulations include rules about ship design, construction standards, training requirements for crew members, rules about what equipment can be used onboard ships and how it must be maintained throughout its lifetime, as well as many other things that contribute towards making sure that people traveling by sea remain safe while doing so.

15.  At least 20 million containers are currently traveling across the oceans at this moment in time. The latest figures show that around 60% of these containers are traveling to and from Asia.

The global trade industry has seen a dramatic increase in container traffic since 2000, with container traffic increasing by more than 5%. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), world trade reached $23 trillion in 2017—a record figure, and one that is expected to rise by 5% this year alone. We hope you enjoyed reading 15 interesting facts about shipping industry.

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