The Business of Shipping - Main Topics of Study

The Ship

  • The number and classification of ships
  • Parts of the ship
  • Ship stresses and stability
  • Markings on the ship
  • Tonnage

Types of Ships

  • Passenger ships
  • General cargo ships
  • Container ships
  • Barge-carrying ships and Ro/Ro ships
  • Bulk carriers
  • Specialist ships
  • Types of engines
  • Trends in ship types
  • The economics of ship size
  • The economics of speed

The Crew

  • Typical duties of those on board
  • Reductions in crew size
  • International crews
  • Regulating crew size
  • Crew recruitment and training
  • Pay and conditions
  • Industrial relations


  • Whose responsibility is this?
  • The choice of route
  • The ship’s navigational hardware
  • Communications at sea

Types of Cargo

  • Pre-shipment planning
  • The stowage plan
  • Stowage and discharge
  • The care of cargo during the voyage
  • Stuffing containers
  • Bulk cargo
  • Dangerous cargoes
  • Deck cargo
  • The theory of trade

Costs and Freight Rates

  • Cost classification
  • The daily running cost (DRS)
  • Propulsion, cargo-handling and other port costs
  • Freight rates

World Tonnage

  • What determines the supply of shipping?
  • The growth of national merchant fleets
  • Reasons for encouraging and sustaining national fleets
  • Maritime policy
  • Flags of convenience

Shipping Finance

  • The operating profit
  • Equity
  • Debt


  • Different ways of chartering a ship
  • Standard forms for charters
  • Voyage estimating
  • How shipowners get ‘offers’ for their vessels
  • Arbitration in charter party disputes
  • The tanker market and chartering

The Liner Market

  • Typical company organisation
  • Marketing
  • Consortia, alliances and conferences
  • Logistics and/or intermodal transport


  • Spheres of risk
  • The economics of safety
  • Marine insurance
  • Salvage
  • Safety and environmental issues


  • The bill of lading (B/L)
  • Economic and operational problems of documentation
  • Incoterms
  • Ship’s documents
  • Customs


  • Port development
  • Classification of ports
  • Types of port ownership
  • Time spent in port (cargo-handling)
  • Number of berths needed in ports
  • Comparing the various types of berth
  • Alternatives to formal port systems
  • Port labour
  • Port management and administration
  • Port charges
  • Ship canals

Recommended Reading

Main Text:
Reed's Sea Transport: Operations & Economics. P M Alderton, (Thomas Reed Publications)

The Business of Shipping, P. Kendall
Lloyds List
Dictionary of Shipping International Business Trade Terms and Abbreviations, A.Branch ( Witherby )