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The world’s biggest shipping companies

Many people are not aware of how important the shipping industry is. Without it, globalization would still be a dream today. Companies, households, and individuals in one corner of the world get a steady supply of goods from the other corner. The following are the top companies that make this industry successful.

A.P. Moller Maersk Group

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the A.P. Moller Maersk is easily the world’s conglomerate in the shipping industry. Having been established in 1904, it is the largest supply vessel operator and container ship operator in the world. Today, it boasts of being the owner of the world’s largest container ship (Emma Maersk) and has presence in more than 135 countries.

Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.

Although it was established only in 1970, its business is prominent on all ports around the world. It owns MSC Emanuela and MSC Beatrice, the former of which is considered the second largest container ship. Antwerp Port in Belgium is its most important port. The company is headquartered in Geneva Switzerland.


This is one of the few top shipping companies with two headquarters in different countries. One is in Marseille, France while the other is in Norfolk, Virginia. Having been founded in 1850, it is a result of a merger between Messageries Maritimes and Compagnie Generale Maritime. Today, the shipping company does 200 routes across 400 ports located in 150 different countries.

Evergreen Marine Corporation

Evergreen Marine Corporation was established in 1968 and is headquartered in Taiwan. It has presence in more than 80 countries representing 240 ports. Today, the company owns and operates150 ships. The green color and the word ‘EVERGREEN’ are prominent on all its ships and containers. The company also owns and runs Evergreen UK Ltd. in the United Kingdom and Italia Marittima S.P.A in Italy.

China Ocean Shipping Line (COSCO)

Having been established in China in 1961, this is a leading company in the provision of shipping and logistics. Unlike its other competitors, its core business is freight forwarding, shipbuilding, repairing, and terminal operations. It owns and operates more than 550 ships in 300 different subsidiaries, totaling to a carrying capacity of 30 million metric tons.

Hapag Lloyd

Based in Germany, Hapag Lloyd is a shipping company founded in 1970 and a beneficiary of a merger. Hapag and Norddetscher Lloyd came together and subsequently bought a Canadian Liner, CP Ships in 2005. For that reason, the shipping company boasts of 147 sea vessels.


The six leading shipping companies deliver millions of containers of goods to innumerable destinations of the world. Others in the top ten list are Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd, and Orient Overseas Container Line.

An introduction to the history of tractor-trailers

In the United States, 70 per cent of goods are transported tractor trailers. This represents 13 billion tons of goods worth $255.5 billion. Also referred to as semi trucks and trailer trucks, their use started with the introduction of paved road in the 1920s. Later, the interstate highway network popularized these vehicles amongst trucking companies.

According to, only 700 large trucks existed in the US roads in 1904. By 1914, there were almost 25,000 trucks in the country. The number then greatly rose to 416,500 in 1924. Since then, there are innumerable trucks and semi trucks in the United States. Trucks require DOT reflective tape to transport goods in the United states.

Introduction of a semi truck?

A semi truck is simply any truck with 18 wheels on the truck and on the trailer. According to, these vehicles have three axles. One joins the front wheels for steering while the trailer has an axle on each end.

The very first trucks were constructed for utility rather than for comfort. They simply rode on wheels made of solid rubber and mechanical braking system. As they travelled on unpaved roads, these vehicles only travelled at a slow speed over short distances.


Technology would later play a great role in the introduction of pneumatic tires and hydraulic brakes. This advancement changed the semi truck to a more efficient workhorse. The popularity of the semi truck was witnessed in 1917, with the lawmakers passing the Federal Aid Road Act. It saw the construction of a national raid system 3.2 million miles long.

Later, the Federal Highway Act was passed in 1956 and increased the number of trucks plying American roads. In 1994, the North America Free Trade Agreement created an explosion as far as road network and number of vehicles is concerned.

Mack Trucks

As early as 1900, Mack introduced its heavy-duty trucks in America. Having been founded in Brooklyn New York, the company would develop its own truck engines with an inventive self-starter as opposed to the succeeded the hand crank.

Since then, the company has manufactured and sold hundreds of thousands, if not millions of trucks. Today, the Mack trademark is prominently present on all parts of the world. For a long time now, the name is synonymous with the heavy duty transportation industry.

Impact of logging industry

As the number of factories in the US increased, there was an increase in the demand for fuel. Logging therefore brought about the need for commercial transportation. Previously, people used to transport logging materials by river and horse-drawn vehicles.

As these methods did not effectively deliver lumber from forests to the mills, companies manufactured trucks, a medium of transportation that is still as effective today as it was back then.

Common shipping procedures that companies observe

When shipping goods from one part of the country or world to another, the exporter needs to take measures to ensure the cargo arrives to its destination safely. At the same time, the shipping company needs to observe some basic, yet important safety procedures.

Some of these requirements include proper insurance, packing, documentation, and labeling of products. As the good move through unknown carriers to customers far away, the person or company shipping them must follow the following procedures.

Ensure the goods are packed appropriately so that they arrive in the best condition possible. For example, hazardous goods such as drugs, chemicals, and fertilizer must be packed in bags separate from goods meant for human consumption.

Ensure the packages are labeled well to guarantee safe and proper handling. All fragile goods and packages must be labeled as so. Proper labeling ensures that people in the shipping process do not deliver goods to the wrong addresses.

Ensure that the packages have undergone proper documentation. Here, local governments and foreign authorities have laws for taxation of the shipped products. At the same time, authorities and regulators must approve the goods for standards and quality.

Ensure the goods have proper insurance. If an accident or an incident was to happen midway, the owners of the goods know that they will be compensated. At the same time, the person or company to whom the goods are delivered can claim for compensation if the goods arrive late or in a poor condition.

The role of freight forwarders

As new companies may not be familiar with the standard shipping procedures, they rely on the help of freight forwarders. At the same time, experienced manufacturers may not have the time to be acquainted with changing shipping regulations.

For this reason, a freight forwarder acts as the agent between manufacturers and companies receiving goods at the other end. These professionals should be thoroughly familiar with export and import rules, procedures, regulations, documentation, and safety measures. They can help in drafting price quotations for the exporter.

Freight forwarders have the knowledge to handle an order from the beginning. For this reason, they can advise the company exporting on emerging trends, and costs involved. Common shipping costs include port fees, freight charges, consular fees, insurance and special documentation costs.

Other roles

Clearing and forwarding personnel also advise exporters and importers in the packaging of goods under transit. There are two common options here. An exporter can either have the merchandise packaged at the port or put into containers directly.

When orders are ready, freight forwarders review packing lists, commercial invoices, and credit letters to ensure they are in the right order. If the exporter desires additional services, a forwarder can reserve space on the ocean vesse

Tips for shipping internationally

A lot of shipping businesses can attest that cross-border online sales account for a huge amount of the total e-commerce orders. Owing to increased online shopping, experts estimate a rise in international shipments by double by the end of this year. However, small shipping businesses encounter challenges when shipping a package internationally. Despite using the renowned UPS and FedEx companies’ issues such as rules and regulations used in various countries affect the smooth operation of shipping boxes. Additionally, these small shipping businesses may be oblivious to issues like international marketing, website localization or even currency transactions. Here are some pointers to help a small online retailer get started.

Select the products wisely

While some products sell well locally, they may not be suitable candidates for international trade. Small and light packages can be shipped quickly compared to big ones. For example, a ranch retailer who specializes in horse feeders recently received an order for Israel. The retailer sends the feeders at $140 locally, but the cost of shipping them to Israel would cost more than $1500; making it a pretty uneconomical venture.

Understand the country’s rules and regulations

Various countries have different shipping policies and procedures. Vietnam, for example, makes it illegal to import calendars from foreign countries (for commercial purposes). Therefore, online retailers may send smaller batches of calendars as it is illegal. Luckily, UPS provides a list of international shipping information regulations that apply to various countries. When you have typed the target country’s name, UPS displays all the info. about all the requirements.

Estimate the shipping costs

Before sending an order, it is important first to understand the cost of sending that order. Note that different set of rules apply when it comes to cross-border transactions. While a t-shirt is not subject to duties and taxes when shipped locally, they apply when the same item is shipped abroad. A customer may even refuse to buy an item that requires a sudden $30 duty on top of the purchase price. Fortunately, established carriers services like UPS and FedEx provide tools that allow retailers to calculate the landed cost before shipping an item.

Hiring fulfillment services

These services relieve retailers lots of stress as they just have to pay a flat fee per order and the fulfillment service labels, packages, ships and monitors all the daunting rules and regulations. What’s more, most fulfillment services set up warehouses globally so that both retailers and their end customers deal with fulfillment services facilities only.