The cargo shipping industry is a lot more fascinating than most people might think. There’s so much more to it than simply shipping literal tons of consumer goods and products back and forth across the world.

Here are just a few things you might find surprising!

The Cargo Shipping Industry Is Massive
The cargo shipping industry is so massive, having an interactive global trade directory is absolutely vital for any international trading company hoping to do business. Consider 2011. That year, there were 55,138 ships in the world’s cargo carrying fleet. In the United States, goods and services exports supported more than 9.7 million jobs, and added more than $2.1 trillion to the economy.

Consequently, It’s a High Value Target
Because the cargo shipping industry is so huge, it’s a high-value target for pirates. Each year, more than 2,000 sailors die at sea, and two ships are lost from pirate attacks. In 2012, the attack rates on seafaring vessels was higher than the amount of violent crimes in South Africa, which has the highest-crime rate on the face of the planet.

Yet, the Cost of Cargo Shipping Things Is Incredibly Low
One of the reasons why cargo shipping is such a huge industry is because of how cheap it is to ship things. It’s so cost efficient, in fact, that a television set which might sell for $700 costs only $10 to ship. A vacuum cleaner with a retail value of about $150 costs only $1 to ship. Cargo shipping is so cost efficient that it actually costs the country of Scotland less to ship its Cod 10,000 miles away to China to fillet than it would cost for them to do it themselves.

Who would have thought that the cargo shipping industry was so massive? Or that it came under so many attacks? Or even just how cost efficient it is? If you know of any other interesting facts about this massive industry, feel free to share in the comments.