SEATTLE — For the average American consumer, it is easy to disassociate the shipping industry with daily shopping routines. Stores are next door or only miles away and products can be ordered online to be delivered on doorsteps in a single day. It is easy to forgo thoughts of how many thousands of miles those products travel to reach the consumers and exactly who makes them in the first place. Many products consumed in America come from overseas via the shipping industry — an industry that provides jobs which encourage economic growth, raise the quality of living and has lifted an estimated one billion people out of poverty in the last 15 years alone.
It is easy to see how the shipping industry elevates the global quality of life for many people. Forbes magazine recently published statistics showing that 90 percent of the world’s food, products and energy are carried by about 86,000 ships. The cargo, which cumulatively weighs more than nine billion tons each year, is transported by freighter, supertankers or other methods of ocean travel. All of these numbers equate to jobs being held and goods that are readily and affordably accessible to a greater amount of people.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) agrees. In fact, IMO’s first Sustainable Development Goal is “no poverty,” followed closely by “decent work and economic growth” and “sustainable cities and communities.” All of the goals rely on the shipping industry to continue to create jobs and opportunities for working classes and the global poor.
Nicholas Pappadakis, Chairman of the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners, has seen the shipping industry rise and fall — as the prices of ships change, different countries get involved in the industry and as new entrepreneurs enter the market. “World trade, world finance and the health of the world economy are all inter-related with shipping,” Pappadakis said. Generations of his family found themselves at sea, but the global economy does not just look to entrepreneurs like Pappadakis to change the world — but also to those who manufacture ships, work in ports across the globe and sail country to country with the products being delivered.
The World Economic Forum says that trade alleviates poverty and is bolstered by partnership between industry and government, establishing trade reform, rules, tariffs and regulations. Reductions in the barriers to trade improve the benefits of that trade to consumers and producers alike. The future potential of the shipping industry is vast.
As the most economically affordable way to ship goods and products, the shipping industry will continue to serve the globe on a daily basis. With the cooperation of industry giants like Pappadakis and the governmental agencies establishing the rules and regulations of trade, it is possible that countless more people can be lifted out of poverty.
– Tammy Hineline