Maritime transport

Maritime transport (ocean transport) is a term for large loads of cargo carried by cargo ships. Since the 1960s, ocean transport primarily uses containers. Maritime transport is the linchpin of the global economy, acting as the physical support for its flows of freight. Although containerization was an important driver of change in maritime shipping, bulk cargoes such as petroleum, minerals, and grains are still the fundamental and enduring trades that support the large industrial sector and the dynamism of maritime transport. The fates of globalization and of maritime transport remain closely intertwined because maritime transport supports commercial flows; more efficient maritime transport is also conducive to improved trade.

Containerization made transportation of large shipments easier, decreased the costs of storage and fuel consumption, with the possibility of tracking a box reduced uncertainty and removed the need for transshipment. It also shortened the time lost by the vessels in ports (before containerization cargo ships spent even 2/3 of their lifetime in ports.) 

Popular ocean routes pass through the English Channel, the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Straits of Malacca, the Bosporus, the Strait of Hormuz, the Danish Straits, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway in North America.


Ocean freight Costs

The cost of sea freight depends on a few factors: weight and dimensions of the cargo, the distance between the port of origin and destination, and type of commodities. Transport of hazardous goods or goods that require refrigerated containers will be more expensive. The choice of insurance also has an impact on the total cost of transportation. It is not mandatory but recommended.

Besides the cost of freight, sea transport also entails additional fees, e.g., fuel surcharge, Container Service Charges (CSC/THC), International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) fee, duties and freight documentation fee.

Liners and tramps

A ship may also be categorized as to how it is operated

  • liner will have a regular run and operate to a schedule. The scheduled operation requires that such ships are better equipped to deal with causes of potential delay such as bad weather. They are generally higher powered than tramp ships with better seakeeping qualities, thus they are significantly more expensive to build. Liners are typically built for passenger and container operation though past common uses also included mail and general cargo.
  • tramp (trader) has no fixed run but will go wherever a suitable cargo takes it. Thus a ship and crew may be chartered from the ship owner to fetch a cargo of grain from Canada to Latvia, the ship may then be required to carry a cargo of coal from Britain to Melanesia. Bulk carriers and some cruise ships are examples of ships built to operate in this manner.