The world’s economy depends on international shipping to transport goods from manufacturers and suppliers in one country to customers in another. Despite container shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping plays an essential role in delivering goods door to door.
Here are seven surprising and fun facts about shipping to give you a better appreciation of international cargo export.
You May Need to Complete an Export Declaration
The shipping company or the freight forwarder may need to complete and submit an export declaration before shipping goods from one country to another. An export declaration is a form that contains information regarding the goods (the type, quantities, and estimated value.)
Export declarations are used to assess value for customs duties and collect data on international trade.
Hong Kong Airport is the Busiest in the World
The Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is the busiest airport in the world for cargo traffic. In 2020 alone, more than 4.5 million metric tons of cargo passed through this airport.
Part of the reason for this is Hong Kong’s advantageous location. Aircraft from HKIA can reach half the world’s population in approximately five hours. Despite this convenience, there was a 7% decline in cargo traffic during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maritime Piracy is Still a Problem
In the 21st century, it may surprise you to know that maritime piracy is still a safety hazard in many parts of the world. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, the Gulf of Guinea represented 43% of all piracy incidents seafarers reported in the first quarter of 2021.
In 2020, there were 68 separate incidents of piracy, including crew kidnappings. Shipping companies generally take ocean-faring security seriously in response to this threat.
Most Goods are Transported by Sea
While we’re used to seeing goods transported by air and ground, ocean shipping is still the primary form of transportation for shipping goods internationally. More than 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea. As a result, the shipping industry, specifically ocean freight, plays a vital role in ensuring the global economy remains on track.
At the same time, most passenger aircraft are also hauling freight, which comprises 5-10% of the airline industry’s revenue. The United States Postal Service leases cargo space aboard most commercial flights.
The Shipping Industry Employs Over 1.5 Million Seafarers
According to the International Chamber of Shipping, a global trade association, more than 1.5 million seafarers are crewing over 50,000 merchant ships keeping international trade running. While seaborne trade continues to grow, there is a shortage of qualified seafarer personnel.
Container Ships Consume Large Amounts of Fuel
It may be a surprise to some just how much fuel a container ship consumes during its international travels. The amount of fuel a container ship requires depends on its engine capacity and size related to its trade route. For example, a Panamax container ship at its top speed (between 20 and 25 knots/hr) can consume up to 63,000 gallons of fuel per day.
Cargo Ships Are Rarely Inspected
In the United States, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for managing international trade, regulating the import and export of goods, and collecting import duties. CBP also conducts inspections on some imports. It may be surprising to learn that the agency only inspects a relatively small fraction of cargo ships entering U.S. ports.
Due to the sheer volume of shipments to the U.S. (totaling more than $2.5 trillion), it’s not viable for CBP to inspect them all. Instead, the agency uses the Automated Targeting System (ATS) to calculate the risk according to several variables.
Choose the Freight Forwarder That’s Right for You
At Asiana USA, we offer freight forwarding services to North American and Asian clients to facilitate long-term international business relationships. Navigating international shipping, customs, and regulations can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the procedures.