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A Brief Introduction to International Shipping

Making the jump to international shipping is a huge step in the life cycle of any small business. By introducing your goods to an overseas market, you take a calculated risk that has the potential to utterly change the course of your company’s future.

Take Air Tractor, for example. This small manufacturing company from rural Texas was able to weather the worst of the recent economic recession – and even report consistent revenue growth - by exporting its products to European markets. Before you commit to bringing your business overseas however, some careful research is warranted. Even powerhouse corporations such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks have struggled to break in to certain overseas markets due to poor planning. With this humbling realization in mind, let’s take a look at the playing field.

The vast majority of international shipping happens at sea on board huge container ships. The largest of these ships is roughly a quarter mile long and nearly 250ft tall. At any given moment, thousands of these container ships are circling the globe, bringing valuable goods to previously untapped markets in foreign countries. It is estimated that the total value of this oceanic trade stands at roughly 15 trillion US dollars.

So where do all these ships come from, and where are they going? Nearly 60% of all global exports come from nations in Southeast Asia such as South Korea, Taiwan, and China. The United States, by contrast, accounts for about 10% of all exports. As of 2014, the Dover Strait constitutes the busiest shipping lane in the world, with roughly 500 ships navigating this narrow passageway every day.

If history is any indication, we can safely expect these huge figures to grow even larger in the future. Current projections estimate that by 2016, the container shipping market will expand further by another 6%.

So what do all these facts and figures mean for your company?

They mean that businesses of all shapes and sizes have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in the largest global trade network the world has ever seen. With careful preparation and market analysis, your business could join the ranks of success stories like that of Air Tractor in Texas.

Still trying to wrap your head around the astounding scale of modern international trade? Check out this handy infographic that distills all this information into easily digestible nuggets of invaluable information.

Chomping at the bit to share your business with the rest of the world? The shipping specialists at InXpress Midwest are ready to help. Call today for more information!

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