Commercial Shipping

5 Must-Know Facts About International Commercial Shipping

International Commercial Shipping

The commercial shipping industry is huge. Millions of products are shipped worldwide on a daily basis. Still, most of us know little to nothing about the process.

Even as one of the world’s oldest industries, commercial shipping is still very relevant to businesses who ship their products overseas. And if you are an individual who is keen on learning more about the industry, the world of commercial shipping is surprisingly fascinating.

Regardless of why you are reading this, it is important for you to know where your products are going to and coming from.

Here are our 5 must-know facts about international commercial shipping.

The Must Know Facts

  1. Commercial Shipping Is the Greenest Form of Transport… Sort of

While it is true that shipping releases the lowest amount of greenhouse gas, it’s far from environmentally friendly.

Over 1.6 billion tons of products are carried each year in the shipping industry. Bigger ships carry even more containers, which should ideally produce fewer pollutants and use less oil.

However, here’s why the international shipping industry isn’t so green:

  • Ships use low-grade marine fuel.
    • This contains 3,500 times more sulfur than road diesel.
  • Ships pollute the air at ports.
    • The particles released cause 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths each year.
  • Coastal ecosystems are destroyed to expand harbors.
  1. It’s a Huge Source of Revenue

Economically speaking, the shipping industry has a global influence. Therefore, it affects every country’s GDP.

Here’s how much of an impact the shipping industry has on the United States:

  • It generates over $400 billion dollars in revenue annually, including indirect and induced effects.
  • 5 million U.S. citizens are employed by the shipping industry.
  • The gross GDP of the U.S. is $183.3 billion.
  • Cargo transported by ships represents about two-thirds of the total global trade.

In the United Kingdom, international shipping grosses more revenue than restaurants, take-out food, and civil engineering combined. That’s a full 2% of their GDP!

  1. There Really Are Pirates

While a pirate who looks like Johnny Depp might seem great, most pirates are dangerous. Especially pirates from Somalia.

Luckily since 2010, there has been a significant drop in pirate attacks thanks to safety measures that have been recently adopted.

About 53% of the attacks on ships are in one area, the Gulf of Aden. This stretch of water, about 920 miles long and 300 miles wide, carries a whopping 95% of the EU’s sea trade and around 20% of all global trade.

  1. Ships Are Rarely Inspected

Not every container shipped has been inspected before it makes its way to a foreign country.

Even after it arrives at its foreign destination, it is often not inspected.

In fact, only about 5% of containers are inspected at U.S. ports. Less than 5% are inspected in Europe.

However, if you are a business, it is crucial that you fill out your paperwork properly. Your containers could very well be inspected.

  1. Commercial Shipping Has Lots of Boats and Lots of Seafarers

Here are the numbers to back it up:

  • There are about 55,000 merchant ships.
  • Around 1.5 million people are employed worldwide.
  • Filipinos make up 1/3 of all ship workers.
  • 98% of the workers are male.

Atlanta Customs Brokers is one of the oldest and most trusted customs brokerage and shipping firms in Atlanta. We enjoy working with our international partners and enjoy what we do.  If you are a first-time importer or exporter or a large corporation, contact us to handle your needs.