For Valentine's Day, we thought we'd prove our love for the shipping industry… so here's an A-Z of the world’s “secret” industry:
Asia; the 5 largest container ports can be found in Asia, namely China (x2), Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Bananas; the largest container ships can hold over 745 million bananas!
Classification societies; non-governmental organisations who apply technical standards to the design, construction and assessment of ships.
DWT (deadweight tonnage) is a measure (in metric tons) of how much weight a ship can carry safely.
Expensive; the world’s most expensive commercial ships can cost in excess of $200million to build (and cruise ships are substantially more!).
Food; without shipping the import/export of affordable foods would not be possible and half of the world would starve!
Green; shipping is the least environmentally damaging form of commercial transport.
Hazardous; it is estimated that 2,000 seafarers die each year.
IMO; the shipping industry is regulated by the International Maritime Organisation.
Japan was the 3rd top exporter of containerized goods in 2009 and 2010 (World Shipping Council).
Keelhauling was a type of brutal punishment for sailors (luckily, this is a thing of the past!).
Liners; there are approximately 400 liner services, most sailing weekly, in operation today.
Malcolm McLean, an American truck driver, is credited with developing the modern-day shipping container used throughout the maritime industry.
Ninety percent (90%) of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry (estimated).
Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship and at 1,187ft (360metres) it is longer than London’s The Shard is tall.
Pirates; Piracy is dangerous and still prevalent. In 2011, there were 439 pirate attacks and 45 vessels hijacked worldwide.
Qingdao port in China handled 15.52 million TEUs in 2013.
Radars are one the most important tools onboard ships. They provide bearing and distance of ships and land targets.
Shanghai; the Port of Shanghai is recorded as being the busiest shipping port in the World.
The Globe was the world largest containership for only 53 days. At 1,312 ft (400metres) long (and 19,100 TEU), it’s longer than 4 football pitches! This was recently trumped by MSC’s Oscar which has a reported capacity of 19,224 TEU although it is slightly shorter at approximately 1298ft (395metres) long.
UK seafarers; in 2014, the total number of UK seafarers active at sea was 22,910.
VLCCs (very large crude carriers) are used to transport petroleum products and are the largest tankers in the World.
World fleet; there around 55,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo from coffee to trainers!
X marks the spot; the English Channel has served as a shipping lane for over 300 years and is one of the most important (and busiest) waterways in the world.
Yachts; the Triple Deuce is set to be the world’s largest superyacht at a staggering 222 metres long and costing a hefty $1billion!
Zeebrugge; a Belgian container, bulk cargo and passenger ferry terminal port that’s regarded as the gateway to the European market.