The maritime industry is the sector of the economy that is responsible for ocean transportation, port operations, marine engineering, shipbuilding, repair and maintenance etc. The industry also include allied sectors such as marine insurance, banking, consulting.
At the heart of the industry is the transportation of goods and passengers by sea. In this era of globalization, the industry is dependent on the traffic of huge ocean liners which include container ships, oil tankers, ro-ro ships, cruise ships. In addition to this is the traffic of other vessels such as shipping trawlers, Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), Cable Layers, Tug Boats etc.
The maritime industry is the mainstay of the global economy as 90 percent of world trade in cargoes is transported through the sea. Without this industry, the global economy will grind to a halt.
In comparison to other modes of cargo haulage (land, rail, air), movement of goods by water is the cheapest form of transportation. While it is obviously the slowest, water transportation also has the advantage of economy of scale. It is the only mode that can carry the largest volume per movement. These attributes make water transportation the most cost effective mode of transportation for cargoes.
The coming of globalization and the concept of containerization has made the maritime industry a more critical aspect of global economy. The phenomenon ensures the massive movement of consumer goods and products in standardized shipping containers from a manufacturer to the consumer at different ends of the world in quality time and at reasonable cost.
While goods transported in standardized shipping containers can be generally classified as part of break-bulk cargoes, the container mode of transportation has become a standard by itself. About 60 percent of cargo transportation by sea is containerized.
In addition to this are the traffic of raw materials such as grains, coal or ores by solid bulk carriers and crude oil, LNG, heating oil, refined products by liquid bulk carriers.