90% of everything we buy arrives via container ships, says investigative , after spending months on container ships to learn more about our “invisible industry.” There are currently over 20 million shipping containers in the world, and roughly 10 million of them are moving on vessels at any given time of the year.
55,000 container ships carried around 2 billion metric tons of cargo in 2016, and steamship lines contributed over $200 billion . We can keep listing numbers with more fascinating facts about shipping industry, but to summarize: containers are the blood cells of world’s economy, and the idea of “globalization” would not even exist without the product flow created by containers.
Obviously, shipping costs are an essential part of our purchases. Either directly or indirectly, we are all paying to move these metal boxes around the world. Every item manufactured overseas has a logistics expense hidden in its selling price. We simply cannot avoid paying for shipping, unless we start manufacturing smart phones in our backyards.