For an industry that keeps the world moving, you don’t often hear about the fascinating aspects of freight and logistics. Most people hear “freight” and think "snooze"—but not us! At FreightCenter, we see freight as fun and want you to think the same. Here are a few facts that’ll have you loving freight as much as us.
- Roughly 90% of all world trade still travels by ship. The same percent of vehicles in the U.S. that could be electric by the early 2040s.
- Shipping by boat is a greener alternative compared to trucks and planes. Although, it's a slower method. But hey, you can't have it all.
- At any given time, about 20 million shipping containers are making their journey across the seas. According to the United Nations Population Division, that's the same number of people in Sri Lanka—the 58th most populous country in the world.
- The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest port on the East Coast. By tonnage, the port is also the third-largest in the U.S.—behind the Port of Louisiana and Houston.
- The biggest ship can transport up to 18,000 containers. That means it can store more than 745 million bananas. "Benjamin Franklin" is the name of the ship capable of carrying 18,000 containers.
- Around two-thirds of ship crews have no communication means in the open sea. With the average person spending 5 hours a day on their phone, it seems unlikely they would thrive in this situation.
- Around 2 ships are lost every day due to pirate seizes. In March 2017, Somali pirates hijacked their first commercial ship in 5 years by pretending to beg for water.
- In one year, a container ship can travel the equivalent of three-quarters of the way to the moon and back. To put that into perspective, the moon is a vast 238,900 miles away.
- Females make up only about 2% of seafarers. Of the 2%, 94% of them work in the cruise line sector.
- Despite shipping being one of the oldest industries in the world, it plays a more important role than ever. The earliest depiction of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait that dates back to the late 5th millennium BC.
- Greece and Japan are the two largest ship-owning countries. Together, they control almost 30% of the world's tonnage.
- Shipping companies are extremely secretive and private; e.g., the official Greek shipowners’ association won’t reveal its number of members. Greek shipping magnate and second husband to Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, was quoted as saying, "The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows."
- A container ship engine has approximately 1,000 times more power than a family car. The largest engine ever constructed stands at an enormous 56 feet tall!
- In terms of cost to ship, a bicycle would cost roughly $10 to ship, while a soda can would cost less than a penny. With the average American drinking about 45 gallons of soda a year, the cost to ship all that soda would certainly add up!
- In the United Kingdom, the shipping industry accounts for 2% of its GDP. That's more than restaurants, takeout food, and civil engineering combined.
- The shipping industry was one of the first to adopt widely implemented safety standards. Regulations are developed at the global level by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the London-based United Nations agency responsible for the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.
- Airfreight is often placed on commercial flights in and out of China. With the average person spending 5 hours a day on their phone, it seems unlikely they would thrive in this situation.
- Ocean shipping is so cheap that rather than fillet their own fish, Scotland can send their cod 10,000 miles across the ocean to China to be filleted and then sent back for less than the price of doing it themselves. Ocean freight also causes much less environmental impact than most other methods of transportation.
- The top commodities transported between the U.S. and Canada are vehicles and parts. Michigan is the state with the most freight flows to and from Canada.
- Thanks to the clean diesel trucks that operate today, it would take 60 trucks to equal the exhaust emissions of just one truck from 1988. Clean diesel trucks now account for 30 percent of commercial vehicles in operation in the U.S.
That is some of the fun and fascinating stuff in freight that we get to see every day at FreightCenter! From cool customers to cool shipments, we view things from a different perspective around here.
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