- You work in Shipping & Logistics so what exactly is it?
- Oh, you are in shipping so do you work on Ship?
- Does shipping mean merchant Navy so are you a Captain?
- What is a container and how do you use it?
- I am a Doctor sorry I don’t understand your Job plz explain.
- Ok so you do import and export, right?
- Shipping Line!! What line is this man?
- You work in the container industry so how the containers are moved?
These are the common remarks I have been receiving since I started my career in Shipping & Logistics (S&L) and trust me, working in the shipping industry is much easier than defining it to the people who do not belong to it but are deep down affected by the Global Shipping & Logistics by various means in their own professional & personal lives.
Globally, the shipping industry is one of the oldest industries and plays an important role in our modern society. Today over 55000 cargo ships are active in international trade as 90% of world trade is being transported by the shipping industry.
Being in the shipping arena for the last several years, I can discuss and write on various topics of International shipping & Logistics but it is still quite difficult for me to make common people (who do not belong to this industry) understand logistics flow from import/export to shipper/consignee and from vessel to container activities.
I am not here to explain S&L by means of typical definitions which you can easily find on the internet but intend to elucidate them in a way that a common man could be able to understand or can relate to this global phenomenon in his practical life.
WHAT GLOBAL TRADE IS
So if I Say, Shipping & Logistics so what is meant by Shipment, and what is Logistics?
Before clarifying, YOU yes you, a common man who could be a student, a Doctor, a businessman, an engineer, a shopkeeper, or anyone else should be aware of the concept of “GLOBAL TRADE”.
In modern society, the Economy of any country is actually supported by Trade which is the basic economic concept involving buying and selling Products and services among different countries with compensation paid by a buyer to a seller by means of exchanging goods between both parties.
It is thanks to global trade that you can buy those products which do not actually belong to your own country but are available for you at reasonable prices, and that you can buy them whenever and wherever you want.
TERMS USED IN SHIPPING
Here buyers mean those who buy the products out of their country and get them imported to their location so they are called Buyers/Importers and CONSIGNEES in shipping terminology.
Similarly, the sellers are those who sell their products out of the country and get them exported to the Buyer’s location via Shipping either BY Sea or Air so you can call them Sellers/Exporters or SHIPPERS in shipping terms.
Now back to the point to describe SHIPMENT which means the product you want to ship and LOGISTICS means the process of shipping or moving your shipment from the port of loading POL to the port of discharge POD. Logistics refers to the overall process of managing how resources are acquired, stored, and transported to their final destination.
SHIPPING LINES & CONTAINERS
So I can say that “SHIPPING BUSINESS” is the act of carriage of goods from point A to point B using the ships or VESSELS in shipping terms which falls under the Maritime industry.
So what is SHIPPING LINE or CARRIER then? Very simple, a service provider Company which offers shipping services by means of offering and carrying Vessels/Containers so that the goods are moved from one country to another by Sea.
What you say! What is Container? Ok, CONTAINER means a big object of rectangle shape for holding or transporting the goods from one seaport to another which you usually see on the roads loaded on big Trucks in different sizes like 20ft and 40ft.
LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Now get back to LOGISTICS SERVICES which could be defined as the process involved in getting the goods from the manufacturer’s warehouse to the receiver’s warehouse including the arrangement of shipping services offered by the shipping lines.
So this is what I explained S&L in a simple way for a common man but how do both terms interconnect with each other? OK, then I must have to define the term Supply Chain.
Don’t worry I will not define the bookish definition here as well.
SUPPLY CHAIN could be defined as the whole process comprising all aspects of Shipping & Logistics
For instance, from picking the fruit at a farm in Point A of any country to delivering the same fruit to the shelf at a store in Point B of another country using all desired industries, businesses, and services including Purchasing, Packaging, Loading, transportation, storage, cargo handling and distribution process to deliver products from the production location or factory to the direct consumer quickly and on time.
All right, now it’s my turn to YOU
If you are a Doctor and you use certain types of Medical or Surgical equipment and Machinery so all these objects were moved to your country via S&L which makes them easier for you to use while performing your job effectively.
If you belong to the Pharmaceutical industry so don’t get surprised to even sell the imported and life-saving Medicines that came to you via S&L.
If you are an IT Professional and using the advanced versions of IT-related devices and Machines from China, Europe, or anywhere so they all are approachable to you through S&L.
If you are from Automobile Industry and selling imported reconditioned cars so you should know the importance of S&L.
Do think about S&L even when you are having imported Chocolates & ice-creams.
Last but not least, If you are a shopkeeper or run a big superstore and you sell various imported items of cosmetics, mobiles, electronics, groceries, and sundries so do I need to tell you how all these things are easily accessible to you and for the end-user? I think no need for it now, isn’t it?
About the Author
BY REHAN KHAN
DIRECTOR & CO-OWNER
VMR LINES LTD
Rehan Khan is one of the Directors & Co-Owners of VMR Lines Ltd; a well-growing shipping line offering global services in various regions. He has an extensive professional experience of several years in Shipping & Logistics, having firsthand knowledge of the container Industry & Management Scale.
He is a pioneer in introducing a Pakistani-based entity, to commence regular container operator services in Europe, UK & Mediterranean regions.
Apart from his engagement in his Business, he is involved in different social activities and is also active on social media platforms wherein he expresses his experiences and ideas and also shares his views on the Global Shipping Industry in a form of business articles/blogs.