Shipping

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The Panama Canal. A cargo ship transiting the Gatún locks northbound is guided carefully between lock chambers by "mules" on the lock walls to either side.

Shipping is the physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods and cargo by sea, and is extended in American English to refer to transport by land or air (International English: "carriage"). "Logistics", a term borrowed from the military environment, is also fashionably used in the same sense.

Land or "ground" shipping can be by train or by truck (International English: lorry). In air and sea shipments, ground transport is required to take the cargo from its place of origin to the airport or seaport and then to its destination because it is not always possible to establish a production facility near ports due to limited coastlines of countries. Ground transport is typically more affordable than air, but more expensive than sea especially in developing countries like India, where inland infrastructure is not efficient.

Shipment of cargo by trucks, directly from the shipper's place to the destination, is known as a door to door shipment and more formally as multimodal transport. Trucks and trains make deliveries to sea and air ports where cargo is moved in bulk.

Much shipping is done aboard actual ships. An individual nation's fleet and the people that crew it are referred to as its merchant navy or merchant marine. Merchant shipping is like lifeblood to the world economy, carrying 90% of international trade with 102,194 commercial ships worldwide.

Terms of shipment

Harbour cranes unload cargo from a container ship at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Navi Mumbai, India.

Common trading terms used in shipping goods internationally include:

See also

This map of shipping routes illustrates the relative density of commercial shipping in the world's oceans.

References