HANDBOOK

Understanding Ocean Freight

28 graphs to help you understand the basics of container and maritime transport logistics

Maritime and Ocean Transport is a huge and highly complex industry, with over 90% of all global trade carried by sea. Still, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the data, jargon, and ever-shifting market forces that define the industry. 

This guide is intended to help you get familiar with the terms, trends, and numbers used in the container shipping industry. We hope this guide will be helpful to anyone in logistics who focuses on Ocean and Maritime transportation. 

We invite shippers, service providers, and everyone who supports this industry to dive into the world of Ocean Freight.

What’s inside

This handbook provides a data-driven look at the fundamentals of Ocean Freight, including:

  • The basics of container and maritime transport

  • Global container transport networks

  • Ocean carriers and Alliances

  • Rates and contracts

  • Bunker and GHG reduction

A growing demand for global goods

A vast majority of global trade — 80% by volume and 70% by value — are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide. In 2020, despite the worldwide interruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping volumes were only 0.6% lower than 2019 levels. 

In 2021, demand surged ahead, driven by consumer behavior switching from services to consumer goods. 

EXCERPT FROM THE HANDBOOK 

Intro to container vessels

Container vessels have steadily grown in size and capacity over the years. On average, large vessels are safer and the frequency of shipping losses overall has steadily declined over the past decade. However, larger vessels mean far greater accumulations of risks and therefore greater values and exposures, both on board and in ports.

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