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Maritime transport is the shipment of cargo and people (passengers) by sea, oceans, canals, and other waterways. Throughout the recorded history, freight transport has been achieved majorly by sea. Although sea travel for people has over the years decreased due to aviation, people still use maritime transport for pleasure cruises, water games, and short trips. Despite the decline in the number of passengers using sea transport, maritime transport for trade purposes has been growing by over 3.1% for the past decades, and it continues to grow. In fact, more than 75% of world trade is carried by sea. Maritime transport, therefore, plays a vital role in transportation by far. For many commodities, there is no direct substitute for maritime transportation. For other commodities, shipping is used to compliment freight transportation and sometimes as an occasional substitute.
Growth in maritime transport has led to an upgrade in ports operations to fit the prevailing standards. Upgrading the ports physical infrastructure, investing in human capital, and fostering connectivity of the port has become an inevitable duty in the companies dealing with shipping services.
Why Maritime Transport Is the Backbone of Global Trade
Besides internal standardization, trade, and communication, transport is one of the four cornerstones of globalization. Dues to the number of economic, socio cultural and technological forces, only a very rare country can fully isolate from exchange with other countries. Those countries that are opening their markets and borders for foreign trade are experiencing astonishing economic growth. On the one hand, globalization increases the demand for maritime transport while on the other hand, maritime transport by enabling movements of good, has enabled globalization. What motivated globalization is the recognition that goods and other resources aren’t always located where populations desire them. What this means is global transport services are crucial for economic growth globally.
On World Maritime Day, the UN secretary general said, ‘’Although everyone benefits from shipping, only a few people realize it.’’ ‘’We ship technology, food, medicines, and memories.’’ As the world populations continue to grow, maritime transport ensures that the benefits of commerce spread evenly, and by doing this, speared growth and development. Particularly in developing countries. Ideally, most of the things we consume have either been transported by sea as raw materials, finished articles or as components.
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Maritime Transport Versus Air Freight
Choosing an appropriate mode of transportation to ensure your cargo arrives undamaged, in good time and at the right cost is crucial. You must carefully evaluate your business needs, your budget, and the benefits of each method as well as the cons in order to decide which mode of transport to use.
Most people prefer to use air freight when exporting time-sensitive commodities. However, air freight is by far more expensive than maritime transport. Again, successful air freight depends on the availability of major airports near the departure and arrival points. The cost of air transport is mainly determined by the weight of your commodities and how quickly you need them to arrive in the given country. This is to say, time-sensitive cargo that is bulky will cost you more. The cost implication is also dependent on whether the air freight company will pick-up your cargo from your doorstep or whether they will need you to deliver the cargo to the terminal. The former definitely attracts additional costs.
Shipping by Sea
Most international exports use maritime transport. If you’re moving bulky shipment that is not so time-sensitive, maritime transport is the most economical option. One advantage of using shipping is that nowadays, there is a large variety of specialized ships that can transport everything from boats, to luxury vehicles, salvage machines, perishables, name it. Much as maritime transport takes longer transit time, by planning earlier, you can have your cargo when you need it. Furthermore, nowadays, travel times for shipping cargo are decreasing by day, thanks to technology.
The choice of the most appropriate method to use when moving cargo is largely depended on the geographical location of your destination, the distance, nature of your items, and any schedules or deadlines you must adhere to. Each mode of transport has its advantages and disadvantages so choosing the right one depends on your needs. Because of the logistics in shipping routes, sometimes, you will be forced to compliment one mode of transport with the another. Sometimes also in a bid to cut cost, you may use maritime transport from one destination and compliment this with freight. Remember, careful selection of shipping companies that can help coordinate your shipping logistics is mandatory if you want hassle-free shipping.
Need more help deciding which transportation option suits you best? Talks to us via our contact page and we’ll be glad guide you along.