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Shipping is complex

November 2020 Free

Illustrating how the shipping industry and shipowners operate – watch the 3-minute film.

Up to 90% of world trade is carried on ships, efficiently supplying the increasing demand for food, fuel, raw materials and goods.


Ships transport 11 billion tons of cargo each year.


That’s 1.5 tons that ships are moving for each and every one of us per year.


A highly complex, integrated and regulated industry is needed to keep this supply chain running.


Before a ship even enters the water there are rules, technical standards and regulations guiding a ship’s design and build.


Classification societies, ensure the ship is continually certified, can thus run safely and get the various types of insurance needed to set sail.


Shipowners are the vital link in the supply chain. They bear the full financial risk both for the purchase and safe operation of a ship.


However, shipowners are not always responsible for the daily operations, with operating companies assuming responsibility for the day to day running of a ship.


Large companies will hire ships to transport cargo. These charterers, who may own the cargo, dictate where the ship goes, and buy the fuel.


Ship brokers negotiate between the charterer and the owner, increasing efficiency and driving down cost.


Ship managers will look after a fleet of ships – servicing routes across the world.


Manning agents source and supply an international skilled workforce. And bunker operators provide fuel for the ships.


Flag and port states police the regulations which shipowners adhere to.

Shipping is complex!


Overseeing everything are more than 300 United Nations officials and 174 member states representing governments across the world. Together they develop robust and effective regulation, governing safety and environmental protection.


Another UN body oversees the rights of over 1.2 million seafarers and every country has their own requirements.


The shipping industry continues to innovate, with the potential of autonomous shipping, digitisation and a clear commitment to decarbonise by 2050. The complexity is increasing, whilst shipping continues to provide prosperity to all of us.