The history of ship transport dates back centuries and has changed numerous times throughout maritime history. Although ships have always had to carry some form of cargo on long voyages, they were generally not specialised for this and it was not until the 1950s that highly specialised cargo ships came into existance. The main change in the shipping industry came in the form of standardised shipping crates that ships became far more specialised at carrying cargo.

The transportation of bulk cargo has not changed too much, as it can often be counter-productive to store substances such as coal or gain in seperate containers rather than storing them unpackaged in the hull of a ship. But smaller commodities, such as cars or furniture, are nearly exclusively shipped in ISO containers. In 2001 it was estimated that more than 90% of global trade for non-bulk goods was carried out using ISO containers, although many of this takes place over land as well as over the sea.

Some of the earliest container ships were oil tankers that were refitted after no long being required for use at the end of World War II, given that there was a large supply of the ships at that time. During the 1950s ships started to be manufactured purpose-built for holding large numbers of shipping containers, Although the transition to exclusively using ISO containers was not a smooth one, as a number of dockyards and unions voiced their concerns that the containers would cause job losses that may lead to lawsuits.


Since the invention of maritime sports, boat racing remains one of the most popular. Both an olympic and independant sport, boat racing consists of either two or more boats racing against each other in a body of water. There are types of boat races that take place in both still water and out on the open ocean, although both necessitate the use of different vessels.

Boat races can broadly be split into two seperate categories: human-powered and engined. Human-powered boat races are typically rowing events, numerous of which take place over the world all-year round. One of the most notable rowing events is the Oxford University vs Cambridge University boat race, a race that stretches back for decades and is viewed by large audiences.

Olympic boat races feature both rowing and motor engine boats, although engine powered boat racing events take place on the ocean. The ocean events are not always straight-line races like rowing events, and may involve having to complete a set course within a specific period of time, with contestants starting the course one after another in order to compete to get the best time within the limitations of the course.