The modern shipping world is built on standardisation and containerisation, which means that a huge variety of items can be sent via worldwide freight overseas, from heavy construction equipment to huge shipments of tissues, all carried in standard shipping containers.
Whilst there have been some truly amazing unique items shipped via sea freight, many shipments you see travel through the Suez Canal and other major shipping routes are common consumer products and items taken from one country to another on an almost daily basis.
Here are some of the most shipped items in the world.
Cars And Car Parts
One of the heaviest examples on this list, cars have always had this unique relationship with the sea, in no small part because airlifting vehicles that way several tonnes each can be prohibitively expensive to do at scale.
Whilst whole cars are shipped to Europe from popular car building destinations such as Japan, South Korea and increasingly China, car components are also commonly loaded into containers and shipped around the world, with electric batteries, in particular, being a commonly shipped resource.
Exercise And Sports Equipment
Over the past two years, in particular, the ability to exercise at home has become highly treasured by people who could no longer attend gyms. However the issue with exercise bikes, treadmills and weights is they are exceptionally heavy.
This makes them far from cost-effective to ship via airfreight, but since sea freight effortlessly transports cargo far heavier than even the heaviest weights, this has become far more cost-effective.
Steel And Iron
Given the sheer weight and often awkward size of steel and iron products, it often needs to be transported using shipping containers, typically on land via rail freight and overseas via large container vessels.
Fresh, dried and frozen produce is shipped from all over the world, to ensure that certain types of seasonal fruit and vegetables can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Interestingly, the banana is the second most common item by weight that is shipped around the world, and given the global appeal and health benefits of eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, it has consequently led to a lot of shipping demand.
In the past, electronics used to be primarily transported by the air, but given the reliability, scalability and speed of sea freight, a growing number of major electronics firms have opted instead to transport an increasing amount of gadgets, TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets overseas.
Clothing is very commonly made overseas before being shipped into the country, in no small part due to the high value of clothing relative to its weight, which means lower transportation costs for a bigger profit.
Toys And Games
Especially around festive gift-giving seasons, toys and games are highly desired shipping commodities, as they often have a low weight but high value attached to them.
From evergreen popular brands such as Lego bricks to the latest craze this year, a large proportion of shipping containers near the end of the year will be filled with toys, games, plush and other children’s gifts.