Sea Cargo Ship & Shipping Containers

Freight Facts

From food to cars to toys, nearly everything is shipped from one place to another. Just how big is the freight world? Watch and learn:

Eytan Buchman

That shirt you’re wearing was probably shipped around the world by a network of trains, airplanes, ships and trucks. From food to cars to toys, nearly everything is shipped from one place to another. Just how big is the freight world? Watch and learn: 

1. 52 millions tons of freight are moved in the United States. Every. Single. Day. / Via

That’s about the weight of 8 Pyramids of Giza being moved every day in the United States alone.

2. The largest ship in the world can hold 19,000 containers.

Which means that you can load almost one billion (910 million) cans of Campbell Chicken Noodle Soup. The ship, created by Hyundai for China Shipping Container Lines, will be delivered in November.

3. In early 2014, a private company delivered cargo…to SPACE! / Via

The first commercial cargo spacecraft, Orbital Science Corporation’s Cygnus, delivered 2,800 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station on January 10, 2014. We’re still a few years away from Domino’s delivering pizza in space.

4. The largest supertanker ever could carry 4.1 million barrels of crude oil. That’s about 650 million liters of gas. / Via

The “Knock Nevis” was built in 1979 and sailed until 2009 (despite having been bombed and sunk by Iraq in 1988. It can carry enough gas to keep a 2014 Honda Accord driving around the world…680,000 times.

5. 14 out of the 20 busiest seaports in the world are in East Asia / Via

If you lined up all the containers that pass through the 8 largest ports in China each year, they would reach the moon and back (and then some).

6. On the busiest day of the holiday season, UPS planned on delivering 300 packages a second

They also expected to deliver about 34 million packages per day. Due to spikes in late last minute sales, not all packages were ultimately delivered on time. Maybe next year.

7. It’s cheaper to catch fish in Scotland and send it to China (and back) to be filleted, rather than just filleting it in Scotland.


Granted, the Chinese filletors (yea, that’s a word) are being paid less than two bucks a day, is terrible for the environment and probably doesn’t lead to the freshest fish in the world…but yea, global economy.

8. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, truckers in the United States will have driven 80,000 miles. / Via

With over 800,000 truck drivers in the US moving about 13 billion tons of freight a year, truckers are always on the move. Good thing the US has over 4 million miles of roads for them to use.

9. The largest cargo airport in the world (Hong Kong) has over 4 million tons pass through it every day. / Via

And it’s not going anywhere. In the next 20 years, world air cargo traffic is expected to double. At least global distribution is a little more balanced than seaports – 7 of the largest airports in the world are in the US, 4 are in Europe and 8 are in Asia.

10. Cargo ships can be used to beat up monsters.

Okay, this one may not be as true as the other ones. Also, stay away from “Pacific Rim”. It’s not such a great movie.

11. Into smuggling? Only 5% of all containers shipped to the US are inspected.

Seems like the TSA may be focusing a bit too much on my underwear and not enough on gigantic ships.


12. In 2007, over 500 million shipping containers were shipped around the world. But the shipping container was only invented in 1956.


The container was invented by Malcom McLean, a trucker who was frustrated how hard it was to fit non-standard packages on ships. Instead, he created a container that could be moved from train, to truck to ship, eliminating the world’s largest game of tetris.

13. When you shop on Amazon, a robot in the warehouse brings the package from the shelf to a packager.

When Amazon acquired Kiva Robotics in 2013 (paying $750 million dollars), they knew what they were doing. Robots now play an integral role in packaging your orders.

14. Up periscope! Between 2,000 and 10,000 containers fall into the sea every year. / Via

In January, 1992, almost 30,000 floating rubber ducks in containers spilled into the Pacific Ocean. Over the next 15 years, they would help researchers chart ocean currents.

15. The largest cargo container ship can carry 18K shipping containers but only requires 22 crew members.


Strange considering that a passenger 747-400 flight will have almost the same number of crew (about 15-18). That’s the power of automation!

Eytan Buchman

CMO, Freightos Group

Eytan Buchman loves freight so much he shouts out container sizes while he walks around. He’s obsessed with marketing, data storytelling (it’s a thing!) and bakes really good cookies. He’s the Chief Marketing Officer at the Freightos Group, which runs Freightos, the world’s leading online freight marketplace, and WebCargo, the digital network connecting logistics providers with airlines and ocean liners. When he’s not thinking about pallets, he hosts the Marketers in Capes podcast, and consults to a number of startups and nonprofits. He still likes Minidisc players and has never skied. Ever.

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