I’m sitting in my kitchen trying desperately to complete my homework. Directly in front of me is my laptop and homework sprawled around the counter. Sidetracked, I stared at the mug I was drinking my juice out of (yes, I drink juice out of mugs), and I read the fine print on it that stated: “Made in China”. With a distracted mind, I thought, “Yes, this was made in China, but how did it get here to me in the United States? One word came to mind; shipping. Everything around me was somehow shipped. Whether it was the shoes on my feet, the bananas next to my fridge, or the glass vase my grandmother gave my mother, it all found its way here through a method of shipping.
First off, where do the popular shoes people wear daily come from? Most large corporations that sell well-known brands manufacture many of their products in other countries, then later ship the product to the necessary facility that needs to be restocked. This action is called merchandise shipping and it happens a lot more frequently than one may think. An example of this can be seen with many big shoe corporations. Most of their factories are in Asia (i.e.: Indonesia, Thailand, and China), but there are many instances where the stores in the United States are running low on these shoes. What occurs is the store in the U.S. places an order in bulk of the shoes to the Chinese facility. The facility loads the shoes into a large 40-foot container, along with other goods, to be transported to a port. The containers are then placed on large container ships and shipped overseas to the U.S. Once the cargo is out of its ship container and inspected (like the many other times along the way), it is placed on a truck set to a distribution center and prepared for shipment. The shoe store is then given their order of the popular shoes, the day after. Without this process, people wouldn’t have the most feel for clothing, shoe, or even kitchen appliances, and we owe that to merchandise shipping.
What about the food on the counter, like the bananas? Most people like having a variety of foods to choose from rather than a limited selection before they eat. The reason why people have a wide array of choices is perishables shipping. Perishables shipping is the ability to get foods shipped from one location to another, whether it be on land by truck or usually overseas by ship. These foods can be anything from avocados from the neighboring country of Mexico or bananas from the islands of the Caribbean. An example of this process of perishables shipping begins with the obvious harvesting and cleaning of the fruit or vegetable. Once clean, they are stored in cardboard boxes that are then put in refrigerated, temperature-controlled ships or trucks. Then, much like the process of merchandise shipping, they are transported internationally or globally from the ports to the distribution centers and to the grocery store, where it will eventually end up on your kitchen counter, ready to be eaten.
One may think though, “I know how my shirt and avocados got to my home, but what about my great-grandmother’s china cabinet, there can’t be shipping for that!” Well… this is where they would be wrong. There are many instances where someone has an important item that needs to be shipped to a different location. This can range from furniture that needs to be moved from a previous home to a new one or a precious family heirloom that has been passed down from a mother in California to a son in Pennsylvania. This transportation of goods can be achieved using personal effects shipping. This process is much more different than that of merchandise and perishables shipping, but just as important. An example of this, specifically using international transportation, would begin the contacting of a shipping company. The company will factor in many different variables such as value, condition, size, and distance, to be sure the job can be done. If it can be accomplished, the customer will have their items scheduled for pick-up based on dates available for the customer and the trucks available in the area that chosen a date. This is where one of two options can occur; carrier packed items versus items packed by the owner. The former is when items are picked up from the customer and taken to the company warehouse where it can be professionally packed, prepared for shipping, then later transported (this case would cost an additional fee). The latter though is when the owner packs their own belongings and then it is directly transported. No matter the instance, the owner can be ensured that their valuables are in good care and can be taken anywhere from 20 miles to 5,000.
Overall, everything around us is shipped, whether it be merchandise, perishables, or personal effects. We can easily take for granted the intricacies of how our everyday belongings get to where they are in and out of our homes. This is all due to the process of shipping. Next time one sees any of the many items in their surroundings, they can thank the trucks, ships, and many other components in this extensive, yet vital, process.