Ten Facts About Maritime Transportation


Graphical image of a container ship with the words 'Ten Facts About Maritime' worked into the image.


1. Around 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry.

Source: Shipping and World Trade Overview, International Chamber of Shipping

2. There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations and manned by over a million seafarers of virtually every nationality.

Source: Shipping and World Trade Overview, International Chamber of Shipping

3. Some of the world's biggest container ships are about 1,300 feet long—that's nearly 400 meters or the distance around an Olympic running track—with a maximum width of 180 feet (55 meters). Their engines weigh 2,300 tons, their propellers 130 tons, and there are twenty-one stories between their bridge and their engine room. They can be operated by teams of just thirteen people and a sophisticated computer system and carry an astonishing 11,000 20-foot containers. If that number of containers were loaded onto a train it would need to be 44 miles or 71 kilometers long!

Source: About the Industry: Container Ship Design, The World Shipping Council

4. Container ships have an approximate lifespan of 26 years.

Source: About the Industry: Container Ship Design, The World Shipping Counci

5. The biggest container ships can hold 745 million bananas in 15,000 containers. That’s one for every person in Europe and North America.

Source: 10 Fascinating Facts About The Hidden Industry That Touches 90% Of What You Own, Fast Company

6. Females make up only 2% of seafarers.

Source: 10 Fascinating Facts About The Hidden Industry That Touches 90% Of What You Own, Fast Company

7. A container ship travels the equivalent of three-quarters of the way to the moon and back in one year during its regular travel across the oceans.

Source: Ten Legitimately Fascinating Facts About the Shipping Industry, The Wire

8. At least 20 million containers are currently traveling across the oceans.

Source: Ten Legitimately Fascinating Facts About the Shipping Industry, The Wire

9. In spite of their large size, most container ships are crewed just between 13-24 crew members. There are an estimated 466,000 officers and 721,000 ratings (able-bodied seamen) currently serving on internationally trading merchant ships.

Source: 8 Lesser-Known Facts About the Modern Cargo Ship, Capital Distribution Services

10. Sixty percent of all grain exported from the United States is shipped via the Mississippi River through the Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana.

Source: Mississippi River Facts, Mississippi River Resources Page


Erin Skoog
Fast Forward: Volume 2 Issue 5 – Maritime