From its modest origins as Egyptian coastal sail ships around 3,200 BC, maritime transportation has always been the dominant support of global trade. By1,200 BC Egyptian ships traded as far as Sumatra, representing one of the longest maritime routes of that time. With the development of the steam engine in the mid 19th century, this role expandedconsiderably as ships were no longer subject to dominant wind patterns. This long term attribute has been reinforced by recent trends where changes in international trade and seaborne trade areinterrelated. Maritime transportation, like all transportation, is a derived demand. As of 2009, seaborne trade accounted for 89.6% of global trade in terms of volume and 70.1% in terms of value. Maritimeshipping is one of the most globalizes industries in terms of ownership.
Maritime transportation, similar to land and air modes, operates on its own space, which is at the same time geographical by itsphysical attributes, strategic by its control and commercial by its usage. While geographical considerations tend to be constant in time, strategic and especially commercial considerations are much moredynamic. The physiographic of maritime transportation is composed of two major elements, which are rivers and oceans. Although they are connected, each represents a specific domain of maritimecirculation. The notion of maritime transportation rests on the existence of regular itineraries, better known as maritime routes.
Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Increased levels of world traderesulted from the economic growth occurring since the end of World War II in 1945. The United States was in the position to take advantage of new trading opportunities as new world markets opened.Developing countries demanded capital goods, agricultural products, consumer goods, and commercial services, which the United States could provide. As these nations produced goods for export, the...