The Business Times

A layman's guide to the shipping industry

Published Sun, May 18, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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THERE would be no world trade or commerce without ships. Ships of various stripes and uses have been around for thousands of years. Even shipping's faster cousin - air transport - has been unable to usurp sea transport as the largest carrier of cargo; ships remain loaded with 90 per cent of the world's transported goods.

Vital as shipping is to world commerce, it is an ancient mercantile trade that comes with a web of customs, jargon and particular economic dynamics that may daunt a layman hoping to understand the industry.

There is an upside to untangling the mess: A basic understanding about merchant shipping can give insight on the trajectory of the recovery of world trade, consumption patterns of commodities, and the dynamics of one of China's core economic drivers, its shipbuilders.

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