Roughly 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. There are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations, and manned by over a million seafarers of virtually every nationality.
Shipping is the safest and most environmentally benign form of commercial transport. Perhaps uniquely among industries involving physical risk, commitment to safety has long pervaded virtually all deep sea shipping operations. Shipping was among the very first industries to adopt widely implemented international safety standards. Because of its inherently international nature, the safety of shipping is regulated by various United Nations agencies, in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which has developed a comprehensive framework of global maritime safety regulations.
Seaborne trade continues to expand, bringing benefits for consumers across the world through competitive freight costs. Thanks to the growing efficiency of shipping as a mode of transport and increased economic liberalization, the prospects for the industry's further growth continue to be strong.
Shipping is the least environmentally damaging form of commercial transport and, compared with land based industry, is a comparatively minor contributor to marine pollution from human activities. There has been a substantial reduction in marine pollution over the last 15 years, especially with regard to the amount of oil spilled into the sea, despite a massive increase in world seaborne trade.
To learn more about shipping visit www.ics-shipping.org/shipping-facts/shipping-facts//