Fun Fact Friday: Surprising Ocean Freight Shipping Facts

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Container shipping is only 64 years old…

The birth of the container ship happened in 1955 when trucking entrepreneur Malcolm P. McLean decided to transport trucks in containers. He then shelled out for an oil tanker and customized it for container transportation.

Ocean freight shipping is relatively green…

Although the ocean freight industry uses a few hundred million tons of fuel each year, it is still one of the greener options for transporting goods.

According to research, moving 150 tons worth of goods via an ocean-freight vessel has 44 times less global warming potential than if you were to transport the same shipment via air.

At the same time, the ocean freight shipping industry is also looking at alternative energy sources that will reduce emissions. Some alternative solutions include hydrogen-powered cells, as well as modern-day versions of ship sails that can reduce fuel demands by up to 20%.

Piracy is rife…

If you thought that piracy was something confined to the days of Blackbeard and Captain Hook, you’re very mistaken.

Piracy is just as old as Maritime Trade – however, rather than wielding cutlasses and daggers, today’s pirates rely on guns and technology to track and assail their targets.

Estimates state that piracy currently costs the industry roughly $50 billion annually in lost cargo and damages. Recently, pirates switched from focusing mainly on cargo theft and are now beginning to hold crew members ransom instead.

Some of the hotspots for freight ship piracy are the Malacca Straights, the Gulf of Aden, the South China Sea, Benin, Nigeria, Somalia, and the Gulf of Guinea.

Ocean Shipping is getting slower…

The reason ocean freight vessels are going at the pace of the old clipper ships lies in reduced fuel consumption.

After the 2009 recession, shipping companies had to cut costs. They did this by reducing speeds from the standard 25 knots to 20 knots. Fast forward to today, and emission regulations and cost savings have caused some companies to modify their freight ship engines to handle sustained slowed speeds of 12 knots.

Containter Ships clock some serious miles…

Although container ships might be traveling slower these days, this doesn’t mean they aren’t still putting down the miles. It is estimated that the average freight ship typically clocks just under 1.5 million miles in a year – the equivalent of traveling three-quarters of the way to the moon and back.

Considering that container ships can last up to 20 years and more, the average ship could complete up to 15 theoretical “moon journeys” in the miles it covers over its lifetime.

A third of ocean freight ships have no communication at sea…

A large portion of freight ships have no means of communication with the rest of the world during voyages.

Besides this staggering fact, only 10% of the seafarers on ships that are in communication with the world have access to the Internet.

Only a small percentage of cargo ever gets checked…  

When it comes time to fill out customs forms, you might get the feeling that your container or goods will be thoroughly inspected. While there is a chance that it will, not nearly as many containers are inspected as one would think.

Thanks to the sheer volume of freight, customs officials only check an average of 5% of containers that arrive in the US. This percentage varies by country. Some countries check up to 10% of containers, while others only check roughly 2%.

Original article published by: ExFreight “From Sea to Sea: 7 Surprising Ocean Freight Shipping Facts”


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