Shipping and ordering packages is vastly different these days compared to how it used to be a few years ago thanks to the changes introduced by the modern shipping industry. Things like maritime safety, the ship’s design etc have seen drastic improvements over the years. That said, there are plenty of processes that still remain the same.
Early Days of the Shipping Industry and How things Have Changed
The shipping industry has been around for decades and offered organizations and individuals a great deal of convenience, helping them ship their items from one part of the globe to the other. While there is plenty of uncertainty regarding when shipping actually started, many believe that it has been around is the third century.
During the early days of shipping, people packed goods into things like crates, barrels, sacks etc and stored them in the ships. More often than not, the ships did not have sufficient space so people had to keep their items in whatever space they could find.
The Gradual Change of Shipping Processes
While shipping processes are quite fast these days, things were vastly different initially. One of the biggest reasons behind slow shipping processes was the scarce space most ships had. Since there was plenty of stuff to ship, but not enough space, loaders had to spend a huge chunk of their time in ports to ensure they do not overload the ships. Of course, this also led to delays and several other issues.
As time passed, things began to change for the better. One of the main catalysts for these changes was the introduction of safety regulations and loading rules introduced in 1255. These rules were first introduced in Italy, but other countries also started adopting them eventually. Later on, shippers also had a set of inspection rules to follow to steer clear from overloading and other hazards.
How Safety Rules Changed Shipping
When shipping was at its initial stages, there were very few rules and regulations regarding vessel safety. Shippers used to load almost anything, as long as it fit in the ships space. However, people soon learned that this was not the right thing to do and could cause plenty of trouble during their voyages.
Fortunately, the introduction of safety rules during the 1600s addressed this issue. According to one of the rules, shippers had to ensure their vessel was seaworthy and could latch freight correctly. As years went by, more rules were introduced to improve the shipping industry. Of course, a lot of these rules went through tweaks and changes to adapt with the times and the changing vessels.
How Metal Containers Changed the Game
Merely storing cargo in the ships was proving to be quite a burden for shippers. One of the biggest reasons behind it was that the cargo was often exposed to elements like rain, storm, dust, debris etc. This caused a great deal of losses and shipping companies were in dire need of a quick solution. Fortunately, the introduction of metal containers addressed this issue.
A person named, Malcom McLean was behind this idea, as he believed that stacking ships with tons of metal containers would protect the cargo and simplify the loading and unloading process. From this point forward, the shipping industry evolved greatly. There were even massive changes made to the containers size as shipping companies started using 20 feet containers to store more cargo.
The introduction of larger containers helped reduce shipping costs significantly and made shipping processes quite convenient. Since then, the size of container ships has grown to what we see today. The ships today are incredibly sophisticated and advanced and it is a big reason why around ninety percent of goods are shipped through sea.
Shipping Industry in the Present Day
Despite so many changes over the years, the shipping industry continues to change and evolve. Shipping companies aim to prioritize eco-friendliness to minimize the toll shipping has on the environment. There has also been an increased focus on eliminating criminal activities like human trafficking, smuggling, etc.
Also, while shipping processes have been better than ever, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Lack of and inefficient communication is common problem that some shipping companies have faced over the years. Issues like these often result in delays and wrong deliveries. Fortunately, however, the introduction of track and trace cargo standards can address this issues effectively.
The track and trace standards contain a set of interface, data and process standards that third parties, shippers and carriers can implement for tracking cross carrier shipments. Implementation of these standards help supply chain companies and customers communicate digitally to make shipping processes better.
The shipping industry has been better than ever and if one looks at the constant changes it has been through, it would be fair to assume that things will only improve with time.