Shipping breakbulk cargo is more of a process than you might think. When ordering your latest e-Bay auction win or Amazon steal, all you may care about is that it shows up in the next two days to play with or present on time to a friend. But so many steps go overlooked from the buyer’s perspective when it comes to shipping.
Most of international shipping happens on cargo ships. Giant fuel guzzlers roam the seas to get people their food and supplies in one bulk load to cut down on emissions. Of course, it still takes a lot of oil. That is partly why transportation overseas is a lot more expensive. Consider how many people and machines must do their job just to get your Chinese handbag here on time. Back in the day, that happened over a period of months, using horse carts and much slower ships. And even then packages sometimes did not arrive due to shipwrecks and other terrible accidents. So learn to appreciate where your stuff came from by learning about the process.
All breakbulk cargo transported across the country either goes in a plane or truck at some point. To make it from Maine to Florida in time, it must be so. Yes, fuel is used and carbon emissions roam free. But things are bulked together to limit such a carbon footprint. And until someone comes up with a better way to make our equipment move, we need to accept this premise if we wish to continue our lifestyle of comfort and ease.
After all, your pineapple was probably not grown in your hometown in West Seattle. We all know that different kinds of foods naturally grow in certain places and climates. Tropical fruits are called tropical because that is where they grow. And Hawaii would not be a very great garden for apples. So it goes both ways. With no shipping, we would only be eating that which is indigenous and surviving in your hometown climate. In Seattle, that would mean an end to citrus, fresh or not so fresh. In Southern California that might get you all of the oranges and grapefruit you desire but leave an empty hole where some kinds of berries and other produce were.
So be grateful for those breakbulk cargo truck drivers you pass by on the freeway and smile and wave rather than trying to escape their shadow. Befriend and even thank the next one you see at a truck stop, because he or she is how you live comfortably without having to journey out to the boonies for certain refreshment. Shipping is now essential to daily living in the 2000s. Do your part to support the economy by ordering in bulk and being kind to your truck-driving neighbor.