Do you realise that just about anything and everything you buy arrives on a ship? Shipping is one of the biggest businesses on the globe and the shipping industry lends itself to just about every other industry – from clothing and technology to perishables, vehicles and so much more. So take a look at these 10 fascinating facts about this global industry.

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1. Environmentally Friendly

Compared to gas emissions expended by trucks and planes, shipping is a lot kinder on the planet and a great deal less damaging when it comes to greenhouse gases. But since this is a massive industry, shipping actually comes in 6th place on the list of the planet’s most polluting countries. So while it is kinder on the environment than a truck or plane, it’s not particularly beneficial.

2. Ships Are Really Huge!

The biggest shipping container unit can carry a whopping 1500 boxes. Those boxes in turn can hold as many as 746 million bananas. That’s one banana per person in all of Europe and a few pets, too.

3. Across the Seas

At present some 20 million shipping containers are travelling across the sea. That’s a whole lot of perishables.

4. One Massive Source of Income

When it comes to revenue, the shipping industry is gigantic. In the United Kingdom alone, this industry accounts for more of the Gross Domestic Profit that takeaways, restaurants and civil engineering put together. It makes up about 2% of the GDP, one behind the construction industry.

10 Fun Shipping Container Facts

5. Pirates Do Exist!

Not the eye-patch, whisky-swirling kind, but real pirates! The amount of attacks on sea vessels, particularly in areas such as Somalia, is higher than the amount of violent assaults in a country like South Africa (a country with the highest crime levels on the globe).

6. Shipping is Really Affordable

Here’s a thought: it’s a lot cheaper to send fish all the way from Scotland on a 10,000 mile journey to China, have it filleted and then shipped back to Scotland rather than get a local filleter to do the deed. While this reflects China’s cheap labour, it’s also a reflection on shipping’s low, low costs.

7. Shipping Containers are Rarely Inspected. Seriously.

Ever watched a film where drug smugglers successfully get drugs into a country aboard shipping containers? It really is that easy. According to statistics, only about 5% of containers shipping to the United States ports are actually inspected. The number is even less at European ports.

8. The Vastness of the Oceans

In just one 12 month cycle of regular travel across the seas, a shipping container travels the equivalent mileages of three-quarters of the way to the moon and back.

9. Shipping Companies are Very Private

Shipping companies are pretty private, and in fact, secretive. As an example: the Greek shipowner’s association has never revealed the number of members they have. This isn’t even considered off in this industry.

10. The Demographics of Those Who Work on Ships is Expectable

Typically, the average ship worker is of Filipino origin. In fact, the nation makes up a third of all ship workers, world-wide and 98% of the workers are men. These are, of course, just statistics.

In more recent times, shipping containers have become extremely popular as an array of architecture. In effect, shipping container rentals have also increased tremendously. Today, shipping containers are used as anything from site offices to portable museums; clinics in disaster-struck countries; shopping centres; theme parks; boutique shops; homes and coffee houses.

Shipping containers are cost-effective, easily available and friendlier on the environment. So it makes sense that the simple vessel created in the 1950s has taken our globe by storm and accounts for a good chunk of the world’s economy.