Ships and shipping have been in use since ancient times and in fact it was the grit of the old time mariners that has made the world what it is today. Technically, the term shipping refers to the movement of goods and materials or freight by the use of ships. However, in today’s industrial world the term shipping generally refers to the movement of freight by any means available such as vans, cars, trucks, trains and cargo planes.
When shipping by water, there are various types of ships that can be used in the shipping process such as container ships, tankers, crude oil, bulk carriers, general cargo ships, offshore supply vessels, gas carriers, car carriers, tugboats, dredgers, barges and ferries. These ships are designed to navigate a specific type or types of waterways including canals, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.
Shipping offers the most economical means of moving goods between continents, countries and even cities. Though ships move at a much slower speed than, vans, trains, airplanes and trucks, the volume and weight they can move is much greater and the cost of freight delivery comes down dramatically. Ships can transport all types of freight such as raw materials, finished goods, lumber, vehicles, train cars, aircraft, and oil, etc. When shipping crude oil, very huge super tankers are used.
Shipping companies have a fleet of ships and companies or freight delivery agencies book space on the ships. When at sea, ships are self-contained and have sufficient food, fuel and other resources to survive the trip. They have fixed ports of call or destinations and load from a port and unload the freight at another port. Water shipping companies are ideal for businesses who need to transport a large amount of freight and aren’t exactly in a hurry to do it. If you are transporting a smaller amount of needs and/or need to get them there in a hurry then it is recommended that you use land shipping or air shipping. If food items or other types of perishable goods are going to be shipped then they should be transported in a refrigerated carrier.
Some companies have their own transportation fleets however many businesses hire logistics companies to do it for them. These companies will often package, load, transport, and unload the freight. Many of them can also help you with international customs documents, shipping schedules and other types of transport documentation.