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International Shipping in a Tropical Climate

Jul 25, 2008
Tropical climates and countries in South America, Africa and the Caribbean present obstacles to international shipping companies which are not present in other parts of the world. The temperature, the diversity of governments and regulations, and the presence of dangerous insects and bacteria create a shipping nightmare that should only be handled by an international shipping company with experience in dealing with the port of origin and the destination country.

The first and most obvious factor to take into account when doing international shipping in a tropical climate is the temperature. Extreme heat can cause damage to cargo shipments and result in financial losses if items are not packaged properly. Food products need to be refrigerated or otherwise temperature controlled to prevent spoilage. Rotting food can become a breeding ground for insects and bacteria so methods of shipping are strictly controlled for the safety of the cargo and the crew.

The tropical zones of the world also seem to contain some of the more unstable governments and hot beds of violence. This can affect international shipping and is always a concern that a ship captain needs to be aware of. Government upheavals, revolutions, and even pirates are constant threats in the southern oceans of the world and international shipping is prime prey.

Hot and tropical climates are the home of many different types of disease carrying insects and bacteria that thrive in a warm moist environment. These organisms can attach themselves to a shipment and end up breeding in another continent. It is widely believed that the red ant, which is indigenous to South America, arrived in the United States via cargo ship in the 1930's and has established itself since as a major pest and predator of other insects. Mosquitoes in tropical climates are more likely to carry Malaria or Dengue fever and can devastate a ship's crew if they make it aboard while a boat is in port.

Another danger to international shipping in the tropics is the weather. During hurricane season, a region like the Caribbean can see up to thirty tropical storms or hurricanes that can pose a serious danger to international shipping. Sea and air freight routes are shut down and those who dare to travel during these storms put themselves and their cargo at serious risk. Cargo ships are massive behemoths and a testament to the technological advance of man but they are nothing compared to the fury of Mother Nature. Intelligent ship captains stay safely in port until the storm blows over.

Other headaches for international shipping companies in tropical areas include the inaccessibility of inland areas, the shipping lanes themselves and the distance required to travel from the west to east when you're below the midpoint of a southern continent. Many of the countries in South America and Africa have an undeveloped highway systems making door to door international shipping difficult and often impossible for even the largest and most established shipping companies. Shipping lanes are often tight and strictly enforced and the Panama and Suez Canals only help when you're close to them.
About the Author
Nir Dotan is a writer and promoter of
International Shipping services, and
Omega Shipping Local as well as International Moving.
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