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Interesting Facts About Shipping

September 03, 2021

The shipping industry is one of the oldest in the world, but without it, we wouldn’t have the global economy we enjoy today. See how many of these facts about shipping you already know and which ones surprise you.

  • 90% of the world’s goods come and go by ship.
  • The International Chamber of Shipping estimates that 7.7 billion tons of cargo were shipped in 2008, generating $380 billion in shipping charges alone.
  • The average container ship travels 75% of the distance to the moon and back—or about 360,000 miles—every year.
  • Panama’s merchant fleet is the largest in the world, with 8,153 ships as of 2016. The United States’ fleet is the sixth largest with 3,570 vessels.
  • Over 1.5 million seafarers work on merchant ships. While virtually every nationality is represented, one-third of all crew members are Filipino, and 98% of the workforce is male.
  • More than 2,000 sailors are killed every year, and over 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea annually.
  • The engine of a large container ship is about 1,000 times more powerful than a passenger vehicle, yet these ships only travel about 23 knots, or 26.5 miles per hour.

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