The U.S. is the largest economy on the planet, and it got there largely due to its efficient cargo shipping industry. It started in the early 1900s when mass production caught on, and suddenly, the need for large-scale international transport emerged. Today, the United States heavily relies on the container shipping industry to realize timely movement of goods worldwide.
It’s a highly effective means of international transport because it ferries a large amount of cargo at a relatively low price, thus easing the country’s financial burden. Maritime shipping has successfully opened up new markets and customers for American businesses. Here’s how cargo shipping has managed to keep and is still keeping the U.S. economy afloat.
Table of Contents
1. How Cargo Shipping Works
Container shipping is the largest means of international transport of goods considering the total tonnage. It involves three main stakeholders: the exporter who sends the cargo to a recipient in another country, the importer who is the recipient receiving the goods from the exporter, and the shipping business that transports the cargo from the port of the exporter’s country to the port of the importer’s county. Because this industry involves many countries in its operations, there are many regulations to follow, and it can get complicated. Maritime or harbor pilots are experts in their home harbors, guiding ships safely into and out of ports. They’re also a key player in the loading plan as they board ships for loading and unloading passengers and cargo.
2. HVAC Market
Just looking into one market, it’s evident to see the scale at which cargo shipping is operating. The HVAC industry, which includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, is growing rapidly. According to Comfy Living, it had a global market size of $240.8 billion in 2019.
The public sector holds a significant share of the market, with healthcare and education facilities also requiring a huge supply of HVAC systems. Manufacturers of these systems often have to import parts for the different components found in a unit. As the demand for heating and cooling solutions rises, the more business the cargo shipping industry will get from the HVAC market.
3. The Shipping Container Menace
U.S. ports are facing gridlock due to air exports. This is causing hundreds of thousands of empty cargo containers to negatively impact supplies. According to BlueDesigns, only 6 million of the approximately 17 million shipping containers are in use. Therefore, over 11 million unutilized shipping containers could be turned into houses for people. There are a few challenges to getting this going, like container transportation costs, risks of hazardous chemical residue in containers, insulation challenges, and local governments putting up regulations that make it hard to obtain municipal approvals. But despite these challenges, shipping container homes offer numerous benefits.
4. Maritime Trade Pollution
The shipping industry is plagued with accusations of widespread environmental pollution. It contributes to a significant percentage of global carbon dioxide emissions, with ocean-going ships being one of the largest contributors. Plastic bottles, in particular, have littered our oceans across the globe, causing problems in the maritime shipping industry.
According to Positively PET, PET plastic bottles comprise most litter. It’s in the best interest of the cargo shipping industry to find ways to deal with the pollution issue. More people, especially younger generations, are particularly interested in promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. So, as more of them get absorbed in the industry, there’s hope that things will change.
Cargo shipping is crucial in keeping the U.S. economy afloat. Using the example of a single product, the HVAC system, you can understand how crucial the cargo shipping industry is. It’s the backbone of the U.S. and entire global commerce.
Cargo shipping connects businesses and consumers across continents, ensuring people get what they need. However, some challenges in the industry need to be addressed, like ocean pollution and freight container efficiency. Given the progress over the past century, there’s confidence that these hurdles can be overcome.