Cargo Shipping 101: Goods Moved by Ships

 15 Sep 2017 10.38am

Cargo shipping is the transport of goods by ships from one location to another.

Ships carry many types of cargo such as oil, scrap metals, white-goods, iron ore, diesel and petrol, food and drink, electrical and electronics equipment, raw materials for manufacturing and commodity bulk cargo such as coffee.

Large cuboidal shaped shipping containers aid most goods in travelling safely by sea around the world.

Learn more about containers by reading the shipping container 101 guide on ocean freight and cargo.


Containerships carry all of their cargo in truck-size intermodal containers. Maersk Line has the largest vessel fleet.


Reefer cargo, or refrigerated cargo, means food and perishable items.

These special dehumidified containers ensure a temperature range from -35 degrees to up to +30 degrees when the ambient temperature is up to 50 degrees.

Ships can also carry rare and precious items and hazardous chemicals.


Tankers are large ships that are designed to transport liquids such as oil all over the world


The London-based Baltic Exchange provides a Baltic Dry Index (BDI) that offers information on the price of moving raw materials or cargo by sea.

When discussing the trade of different goods in the market, cargo type breaks down into dry cargo, hazardous cargo, reefer cargo and over-sized cargo.

By industry, the market segments into food and beverages, chemical, manufacturing, oil and gas, and white-goods.


Scrap metal transshipment ports handle recyclable materials left over from product manufacturing and consumption


North America is a prominent cargo shipping market in the world, with the US the largest market in the region.

Canada and Mexico are other major markets in North America.

Europe is one of the largest cargo shipping market in the world.


Cargo-related technical papers:


Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Belgium, Sweden and Netherlands are major markets in Europe.

Asia Pacific is one of the largest cargo shipping market in the world.

China, one of the largest exporters in the world, is the largest market for cargo shipping in the Asia Pacific region.


A restraint for cargo shipping is the speed at which goods and materials can be transported through air


Japan, India, South Korea and Australia are other major markets in Asia Pacific.

Middle East and Africa is a significant cargo shipping market led by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Africa.

Latin America is another major cargo shipping market led by Brazil and Argentina.

Brazil is the largest market in the region.


A bulk carrier, bulk freighter, or bulker is a specially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore, and cement in its cargo holds


Rising imports of soybeans, coal and iron ore to China from Australia, Brazil, have not increased the shipping rates and increased the demand for cargo shipping.

Due to increase in new shipping vessels, shipping prices of commodities have not increased.

Growth in foreign trade agreements such as NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement), TPSEP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) and AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area), is increasing the demand of cargo shipping market.

Want to learn more? Read: Seven Facts You Should Know About Shipping

Information source: Transparency Market Research Private Limited

  Carriers, Container Handling, Containers, Global Economy/Trade, Security and Logistics, Shipping