Interesting Facts about the Shipping Industry


Whenever we hear shipping companies in the Philippines in the news, the first thing that comes into our mind is port congestion. Inarguably, it is quite a touchy topic to delve in. Let us move on lighter subjects like the interesting yet little-known facts about the shipping industry as a whole.

90% of everything is shipped

The iPhone 6s you’re fiddling. The Jaguar F-Type S Coupe that you’ve seen in NLEX. The imported chocolates you’ve been saving up since the holidays (!). The energy drink you’re chugging down. These products won’t get to us if shipping companies, not just in the Philippines but also those located in other countries, didn’t collaborate with each other. Shipping is considered a quiet or secretive industry yet without it we won’t have food on our plates. This is according to the book entitled “Ninety Percent of Everything – Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate” by Rose George.

Communication challenges

To be a sailor, loneliness is your most likely companion. According to Easy Freight, “roughly two-thirds of ship crews around the world do not have any means of communication while on the open sea.” Internet access is difficult, too.

Pirate-problem is no joke

The most serious problem sailors experience is not communication; it is being captured by a pirate. List25 says, “In 2010, Somali pirates were holding 544 seafarers hostage [and] every year, more than 2,000 sailors die at sea.” It is a heart-wrenching statistic.

Friendly Floaties

It is not just message-in-a-bottle that can turn up in a beach near you. In 1992, more than 28,000 rubber ducks fell from a container ship en route from China to Seattle, BBC reports. These yellow toys reached the coasts of Europe and Hawaii. Another odd object that fell in the seas is 4.8 million Legos. This was way back in 1997 and the pieces of toys were seen being washed up near the north and south coasts of Cornwall. This might be a fun news report at first, but it posts environmental risks to the ecosystem under the sea.

The Safest Form of Transport

Ironically, shipping is the safest among the types of commercial transport. In fact, it is the first one (19th century) to adapt international safety laws.

Lenient inspections

Based on a Fastcoexist article, “worldwide, between 2% to 10% of containers are physically inspected.” A container ship can carry up to 15,000 20-ft equivalent units (TEUs) or 7,500 40-ft long containers, based on GreenAnswers. If thorough container inspection is done in each shipping container, it will surely take weeks or months to finish it. It will be another port congestion problem.

Cost efficient

Easy Freight puts it like this: “it’s cheaper to ship New Zealand tuna in Thailand and ship it back to New Zealand than it is have the processing completed in New Zealand.” This is how iPhones are manufactured based on this infographic.

Filipinos dominate the maritime workforce

As stated in Maersk Stories, Filipinos make up the majority of the 1.5 million sailors around the world. This is not a bizarre fact because the Philippines is a seafaring country.

And as you read this article, approximately 20 million containers are travelling across the oceans. Think about how much a whale, as quiet at it is hugely affective, of a difference that makes to the overall economy.

This compilation of interesting facts is brought to you by North Sea Marine, providing crew staff to shipping companies.

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