The oceans that cover the earth are known for the life below the surface of the waters, and for their beautiful beaches, but we rarely think about the life that sails the seas daily.

Did you know that the shipping industry is a billion-dollar industry? That means that humans do not just use the ocean for laying out on the beach or snorkeling, but it is also used to transport goods to different countries. In fact, 90% of trade is done through shipping. Transporting goods through shipping vessels is the greenest way to export, compared to airplanes, trucks, and railroads. Since that is the case, why is no one talking about this billion-dollar giant?

We go about our lives on land and forget about the sea — out of sight and out of mind. Before starting my job with Ceres Terminals Inc., the transportation industry never crossed my mind. Since I am surrounded by land, I did not think about people working at sea. The interesting thing about the shipping industry is that it moves the world across the waves while we remain unaware. There are thousands of ships sailing daily. The majority of products we see in grocery stores, gas stations, furniture stores, etc., were sent from overseas.

So, what if ships stopped transporting products? Remember 2020 when the world was out of toilet paper? We would be out of toilet paper, food, and maybe even experience a car shortage.

There is a lot involved when it comes to transportation. Many people only think about the obvious, which is that a product is shipped overseas and a truck picks that product up and takes it to the store. Although that is true, did you know that each product may be touched by 20-40+ people before it hits the store? In fact, multiple companies may move the container before it gets to your destination.

A common question that I am asked is, “What does Ceres do?” We load and unload cargo at terminals across North America. Another question that I am asked often is, “Do you ship the products overseas?” The answer is — no, we just load and unload cargo.

Let me help you by explaining the process. A local store decides that they would like 1,000 hairbrushes sent to their store in North America. They contact the shipping line which is a company that ships containers, cars, bulk, etc., across the ocean. The hairbrushes will go into a container before being shipped.

A vessel can hold up to 20,000+ Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), which is a fancy word for 20ft containers.

The shipping line calls my company, Ceres Terminals Inc. We send stevedores to be ready in North America for when the vessel arrives with the container full of hairbrushes.

A stevedore is someone who loads or unloads cargo at a dock.

When the vessel arrives at the terminal in North America, Ceres’ stevedores move the container full of hairbrushes off the ship. This is just part of the transportation process. The containers still have to wait while the truck comes to transport the hairbrushes to the next location in the process of reaching its final destination — The hands of the consumer, you!

It is amazing how much work goes into the store receiving 1,000 hairbrushes. The next time you make a purchase, remember the seafarers, stevedores, and workers who made sure your products arrived on time.

What Is Beyond the Tide? Vessels, Products, People!

Author: Alana Grimaud / Head of Communications and Branding