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5 Major Global Shipping Routes in 2022

What's in this article?
  1. What Is A Shipping Route?
  2. What Determines A Major Shipping Route?
  3. The Economic Impact Of Global Shipping Routes
  4. 5 Major Global Shipping Routes In 2022
  5. #1 The Panama Canal
  6. #2 The Suez Canal
  7. #3 The Strait Of Gibraltar
  8. #4 The Strait Of Malacca
  9. #5 The English Channel
  10. Conclusion
5 Major Global Shipping Routes in 2022

Did you know that the global shipping industry is expected to grow by 4.5% in 2022? That's a lot of cargo.

This article will look at five of the busiest shipping routes in the world, where commodities worth billions of dollars are transported each year.

If you are interested in learning more about the global shipping industry, or if you are looking for some inspiration for your next business venture, then keep reading.

What Is a Shipping Route?

A shipping route is a specific path or course that ships use to travel between two points. This can be either a natural waterway, such as a river or canal, or artificial an artificial channel.

There are many different shipping routes all over the world, connecting other ports and cities. Let’s learn more about them.

What Determines a Major Shipping Route?

Not all shipping routes are created equal. Some are more popular, carrying more significant trade volumes and connecting more countries. Here are five factors that help determine which shipping routes are the busiest in the world:

  • Geography: The most popular shipping routes connect countries with the longest coastline; this gives vessels more options for ports of call and makes it easier to find a route that goes where shippers need.
  • Political stability: Shipping lanes that pass through political instability or conflict areas are typically less busy than those in stable regions. Shipowners and operators want to avoid the risk of their vessels being hijacked, damaged, or delayed.
  • Infrastructure: A well-developed infrastructure is essential for a busy shipping route. Everything from deep-water ports to the cranes and other equipment availability is needed to load and unload cargo.
  • Demand: The trade between two countries significantly determines the busiest shipping routes. For example, the route between China and Europe is one of the busiest in the world because of the large volume of goods traded between these two regions.
  • Competition: Busy shipping routes typically have multiple operators competing for market share. This competition can help keep prices low for shippers and lead to greater efficiency in the supply chain.

The Economic Impact of Global Shipping Routes

The world economy is highly dependent on shipping routes. These are the arteries of global trade and commerce, and their impact is felt in many different ways.

Here are seven of the most significant ways that shipping routes are impacting the economy:

  • Facilitation of trade: Shipping routes are used to transport goods from one country to another, and this trade is a vital part of the global economy. Without interregional trade routes, countries would be unable to trade with each other, and the world economy would suffer as a result.
  • Impact on tourism: Tourists often travel by ship to reach their destination, so the availability of shipping routes can determine where people choose to go on holiday. This may significantly impact the economy of tourism sites.
  • Effect on environmentalism: The oil industry relies heavily on ships to transport oil around the world, so changes to shipping routes can impact the amount of oil transported, resulting in both environmental and economic impacts.
  • Political impact: Countries often use their control of shipping routes to exert influence over other countries. For example, a country may block another country's access to a shipping route to try and force it to change its policies.
  • Impact on society and culture: The movement of people and goods worldwide has led to the spread of cultures and ideas, which has profoundly affected the development of societies. Shipping routes are a vital part of the world's social fabric.

5 Major Global Shipping Routes in 2022

The world is changing every day, and with it, so is how we ship goods around the globe. As a result, what was once popular shipping routes may soon be obsolete while new ones emerge.

Here are five major global shipping routes that are booming in 2022:

#1: The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a vital commercial route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Ships that use the Panama Canal can save weeks of travel time compared to vessels that must go around the southern tip of South America.

The Panama Canal is among the busiest and most critical shipping routes in the entire globe. In 2021, more than 20,694 shipping vessels passed through the canal carrying over 443 million tons of cargo.

The Panama Canal is an important route for many types of ships:

  • For example, cargo ships carrying containers can use the canal to transport goods between Asia and North America.
  • Tankers carrying oil can use the canal to transport oil between the Middle East and Asia.
  • Cruise ships can travel between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans via the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal is a spectacular feat of engineering. The canal was completed in 1914 and is over 50 miles long. It took over a decade to build and cost the lives of over 20,000 workers.

It has undergone several expansion projects since its completion. The most recent expansion project was completed in 2016 and added a new lane of traffic to the canal, allowing it to accommodate larger ships.

The Panama Canal is expected to see even more traffic in the coming years as global trade continues to grow. In 2022, the Panama Canal is projected to handle over 535 million tons of cargo, making it one of the busiest maritime routes in the world.


#2: The Suez Canal

In 2022, The Suez Canal is expected to be even busier as more and more ships use it to travel between Europe and Asia.

The canal is located in Egypt and is used by ships to avoid traveling around the southern tip of Africa. This saves ship owners time and money and helps reduce congestion in other parts of the world.

The Suez Canal has been a major shipping route for centuries. It was first used by ancient Egyptians who built boats that could carry cargo up and down the Nile River. In modern times, the canal was opened to international shipping in 1869.

It has now become one of the largest waterways on the planet. Hundreds of ships pass through the canal carrying everything from oil to cars daily.

The Suez Canal is an important route for the global economy in the following ways:

  • It allows goods to flow between Europe and Asia without going around Africa. This saves ship owners time and money and helps reduce congestion in other parts of the world.
  • It contributes significantly to Egypt's revenue. In the fiscal year 2021/22, the Egyptian government earned $7 billion from the canal. These funds are utilized to upgrade the nation's infrastructure and offer services to its people.

Currently, dredging operations are going on to expand and deepen the canal. By 2023, these projects are expected to be finished. Once finished, the Suez Canal will be able to accommodate even larger ships and handle more maritime traffic. This will further boost Egypt's economy and make the country an even more important hub for global trade.

#3: The Strait of Gibraltar

The Strait of Gibraltar is a small strait that links the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. At its narrowest, it is only 14 miles wide.

Nevertheless, the Strait is an important shipping route because it is one of the few ways to get from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Strait of Gibraltar is a major shipping route for two reasons:

  1. First, it is a shortcut between Europe and Africa. Ships that use this route can save days or weeks.
  2. The Strait of Gibraltar is home to some of the busiest ports on earth.

In 2022, the Strait of Gibraltar is expected to be even busier than it is today. This is because more ships are expected to use the route in 2022, which may cause delays and congestion. Accident risk will also rise as a result.

Planning is the best approach to steer clear of issues in the Strait of Gibraltar. Ships that use this route should plan for delivery delays and allow extra time for their journey. They should also be prepared for congestion and accident risks.

Ships can ensure they reach their destination promptly and safely by making advance plans.

#4: The Strait of Malacca

Navigating the Strait of Malacca is no small feat. This narrow channel lies between the Malaysian peninsula and Sumatra, an Indonesian island. It's just over 800 miles long, and at its narrowest point, it's only about 20 miles wide.

The Strait of Malacca is one of the world's busiest shipping waterways. Hundreds of ships transporting cargo from across Asia sail through the Strait daily. In fact, according to some estimates, as much as 40% of the world's trade passes through the Strait of Malacca each year.

This shipping route is important because it connects the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. It is the most direct route for ships carrying goods from India and the Middle East to China.

The Strait of Malacca is one of the world's most hazardous maritime lanes. The narrow waters are treacherous, and there are often strong currents and high winds.

In addition, ships traveling through the Strait of Malacca must watch for pirates, as there have been several high-profile pirate attacks in recent years.

Despite the risks, the Strait of Malacca is a crucial shipping route that won't be soon abandoned. In fact, with global trade expected to continue growing in the coming years, the Strait of Malacca is only likely to become more critical.

So if you're shipping goods to Asia, the chances are good that your ship will pass through the Strait of Malacca.

#5: The English Channel

The English Channel is a major shipping route because it connects the UK with mainland Europe. The waterway is also among the busiest in the entire world. Thousands of ships travel through the English Channel carrying goods and passengers between England and France every year.

Ship traffic in the English Channel has significantly grown recently. This is due to the growing popularity of cruise ship vacations and increased trade between England and France. The increase in the number of ships using the channel has boosted the economy of both England and France.

The increased commercial traffic has also caused some problems for ships traveling through the channel. Several accidents involving vessels colliding or running aground have recently occurred.

To avoid these accidents, the shipping companies are working closely with the British and French governments to improve the safety of the channel.


The English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, and Malacca are major shipping routes connecting the world through trade.

These routes are expected to be even busier in 2022 as global trade continues to grow. As a result, ships using these routes should account for delays and give themselves more time to travel.

They should also be prepared for congestion and accident risks. Ships can ensure they reach their destination promptly and safely by making advance plans.

At A-1 Auto Transport, we offer freight transportation services within and outside the US. We have been in business for over 30 years, and our experience is incomparable. Contact us now for reliable, professional, and affordable shipping services.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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