Cargo shipping is a massive industry. It forms a key part of the global supply chain. Global shipping and transport are responsible for getting goods and commodities flowing across oceans and continents. Modern cargo shipping helps connect businesses and commercial activities with much more ease and much lower risks than ever before. Of course, cargo shipping is strictly related to tangible products and consumer goods, as opposed to services like Charter Spectrum which have an entirely different delivery way to deliver value to their customers. Regardless, cargo shipping is responsible for transporting some of the most essential products we use every day. Read on for more.
The Major Cargo Types Transported By the Shipping Industry
Cargo ships have been around for many hundreds of years. They enabled trade between different lands as far back as commercial sailing can be traced. Trade fleets of merchant ships have been the backbone of international trade for a very significant part of human history. And it still remains so today. Modern cargo ships get larger, faster, and safer every year, which only accelerates the growth of global commerce.
However, cargo ships will always have limited space to store and transport that cargo. Therefore, shipping companies tend to make the most equitable and profitable use of cargo space possible with each voyage. Goods transport via sea is usually based on the cost per ton and the fuel per ton used in the transport of those goods. Certain cargo ships are designed for very specific uses, such as oil tankers, or gas carriers. In fact, there is a broad range of cargo that you can realistically ship overseas. The major types of cargo shipped by most shipping and logistics companies include:
Food and Perishables
Food is one of the most consumed products in the world. In nearly any mid-sized superstore, you can find frozen, partially processed, packaged or even fresh food from all over the world. However, since food is biodegradable, this probably wouldn’t have been possible in the early days of shipping. Modern cargo ships have holds specifically designed for perishable items like fresh or frozen food. These holds have carefully regulated temperature and sterile environments that help keep food fresh all the way to your local store and from there to your kitchen.
Animals, Poultry, and Livestock
Transporting live animals is often a significant portion of global shipping. Animals can be shipped for a number of reasons ranging from breeding, to meat, to animal by-products, and so on. Many countries rely heavily on the export of livestock, especially those that still rely on primary economic resources. In any case, a cargo consisting of live animals is a complex task that requires specialized cargo handling. Most livestock transport is handled using specialized compartments and decks. Many ships have automated systems that feed the animals and even clean out their pens during transport. Ships may also have HVAC systems fitted to make sure the cargo receives sufficient fresh air and vent out the inevitable stink from their droppings.
Gas-based barrel fuels like compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, and many other derivatives are a crucial fuel source in many countries. Countries that don’t have access to natural gas resources or refineries often have to import containers of gas-based fuels. To support the needs of an entire country, shipping gas by air is too expensive and slow. A cargo ship designed specifically to carry natural gas products and derivatives is usually the most cost-efficient option. These ships have huge cargo holds that need to be filled by pumping in the gas or product, and then pumping it out again at the destination port. Gas transport ships are often the only way many countries can access these types of fuel.
Automobiles and Heavy-Duty Vehicles
The automobile industry has historically been one of the biggest industries in the world. And automobile manufacturers ship many of their products to various parts of the world. Remember, not every country has the means or favorable economic conditions to manufacture their own cars. In other cases, many high-value individuals often import luxury, exotic, and custom-built sports cars. Cargo ships also transport heavy-duty vehicles like cargo trucks, cement mixers, dump trucks, and even larger vehicles for a variety of purposes.
Machinery, Hardware, Equipment, and Spares
Manufactured products often make up the backbone of most economies. However, producing a commodity implies using some form of machinery, tools, and spares. The manufacturing process for complex goods can be even more complicated. Regardless, wherever businesses manufacture products, they will require the hardware to do so. This includes power plants, machinery, tools and spares, and even specialized equipment. Construction machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, gravel trucks, and drills are also usually shipped overseas.