• QuayChain
  • October 16, 2023
  • 3 read

Astonishing Ocean Shipping Facts

Ocean shipping might not be something you think about regularly, but the impacts of shipping and global trade are felt worldwide…even if you don’t realize it! Thousands of ships traverse the oceans daily, laden with goods and materials from all corners of the Earth. 

From clothes to cell phones, medical supplies to food, a vast variety of items are transported by sea. This process is vital for keeping global economies afloat and ensuring people around the world have access to the products they need.

What is Ocean Shipping?

Shipping is a complex process involving many stakeholders from both sides. The shipper, the vessel operator, and the port authority must be on the same page to ensure a successful transport. 

To get there, it's helpful to learn more about ocean shipping, including basic facts and statistics to demonstrate the importance of shipping in the global economy. By better understanding the process, you can make better decisions and plan more effectively for your business needs. 

Ocean Shipping: The Global Behemoth

Here are just a few stats that tell the story of ocean shipping.

1. The Astounding Number of Container Ships

Over 6,000 container ships crisscross our oceans daily, carrying goods from one continent to another. These massive vessels, the lifeblood of the global economy, ensure products ranging from your favorite coffee beans to the latest tech gadgets reach their destination. These ships are a testament to the global supply chain's intricate, yet often overlooked, logistics.

Don't miss this article next about the top supply chain KPIs to track.

2. Mysterious Disappearances: The Lost Containers

It's almost surreal to think that, even in our age of satellites and high-tech tracking, approximately 12,000 containers are lost to the sea. Factors like turbulent waters, miscalculated weight distributions, and unforeseen accidents can cause these containers to tumble overboard. This impacts shipping companies and insurance firms and results in higher shipping costs that get passed on to consumers. 

3. Embarking on Marathon Routes

One of the longest shipping routes is the intricate journey from Asia to the East Coast of the U.S. via the Suez Canal. This route, spanning over 19,000 nautical miles, emphasizes the robust nature of maritime transport. Cargo on this route witnesses everything from the bustling ports of Shanghai to the historic waters of the Mediterranean before reaching American shores. To complete this expansive route, it takes about 45 days.

Other major shipping routes include:

  • The Strait of Malacca
  • The Panama Canal
  • The Dover Strait or English Channel
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway

4. The Colossal Weight of Ocean Cargo

Seaborne trade's sheer volume is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The total weight of cargo shipped annually is about 11 billion pounds—this can also be translated to about 1.5 tons per person on Earth! This staggering figure underlines the shipping industry's sheer power and necessity in maintaining the global economy's pulse.

The Winds of Change: QuayChain's Ocean Shipping Revolution

In recent years, the shipping industry has been revolutionized by the emergence of groundbreaking technologies like blockchain, IoT, and 5G. QuayChain is a perfect example of such a technology. By leveraging blockchain technology, QuayChain is proud to help streamline processes for container tracking that would have previously taken days or weeks—now taking just seconds instead. 

Overcoming Ocean Shipping Connectivity Hurdles

In the intricate web of global trade, efficient data transfer is crucial. Unfortunately, connectivity challenges have long been a bottleneck, especially in remote or multimodal locations. Fortunately, QuayChain's groundbreaking solution of implementing secure private LTE/5G wireless networks is not just solving this problem but redefining how data flows in maritime operations.

The QuayChain Edge: Beyond Traditional Tracking

Harnessing the potential of QuayChain Edge Devices (QED), the maritime industry is tapping into the next generation of technology. By spreading QED across private LTE/5G networks, QuayChain integrates:

  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Edge computing

This trinity of tech allows for unparalleled precision in equipment identification and real-time processing of crucial supply chain data, marking a leap into the future of shipping.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ocean Shipping

Now that we've covered some interesting tidbits about ocean shipping, let's answer some of the other frequently asked questions about this topic.

What Does FCL and LCL Mean?

  • FCL stands for Full Container Load
  • LCL stands for Less Than Container Load

Simply put, the first term means that one shipper fills an entire container with their cargo. The second term suggests that multiple shippers join forces and pool their cargo to fill a container. 

What are ocean shipping's advantages and drawbacks?

Pros of ocean shipping include its unparalleled cargo capacity, environmentally friendlier footprint compared to air freight, and cost-effectiveness. 

The cons involve: 

  • Longer delivery times
  • Susceptibility to cargo damage
  • Occasional geopolitical disruptions

How safe is maritime shipping?

Ocean shipping remains relatively safe thanks to rigorous regulations, advanced ship designs, and improved navigational systems. Still, challenges like piracy, inclement weather, and human errors pose risks and always will to some extent.

What are the biggest ports in the world?

These are ten of the biggest shipping ports in the world:

  1. Busan, South Korea
  2. Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  3. Guangzhou Harbor, China
  4. Hong Kong, China
  5. Ningbo-Zhoushan, China
  6. Qingdao, China
  7. Shanghai, China
  8. Shenzhen, China
  9. Tianjin, China
  10. Singapore

Conclusion: Charting New Waters

With its mammoth container ships, gargantuan cargo volumes, and unyielding significance in global supply chains, the ocean shipping industry is at a pivotal point. Innovations promise to usher in an era of increased efficiency and accuracy, ensuring ocean shipping's continued role as the linchpin of our interconnected world.

Learn more about QuayChain's scalable solution today.

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