As of now, there are 50,000-some vessels on Earth which together comprise the international shipping industry. It’s a staggering number of freighters and tankers by anyone’s count. Likewise, these ships constitute 90% of the total international trade on Earth, far outnumbering overland and airborne trade-routes in sheer bulk tonnage and volume. Obviously, these ships come in many different sizes and tonnage capacities, the largest being the so-called “supertankers” that ply the oceans –the largest of them weighing, at full load capacity, a staggering 564,763 tons. As has been mentioned in other blog entries on our site, while supertankers form a small minority of total sea traffic, they carry an outsized amount of the world’s total seaborne goods, particularly when it comes to commodities like crude oil. While these ships carry a disproportionate total of the goods and services, there are many ports throughout the world that do not have the capacity to harbor these giant ships. Indeed, up until recently, even the Panama Canal has not been able to carry supertankers through its waters.