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What is shipping?

Shipping originally meant the business of transporting goods and materials by ship, but now also includes air, rail and truck transport. Commercial ships are supported by marine terminals that are built near bays, rivers, or coasts. The terminals include docks, piers, and structures for handling cargo and materials to and from ships, storage, trains and trucks

Marine terminals contain warehouses, storage yards, grain elevators, maintenance and repair shops, truck depots, train yards, and equipment such as cranes, tractors, and forklifts to load and unload cargo. They may be large, complex freight transportation centers handling trailer-size shipping containers, petroleum products, industrial chemicals, agricultural goods, and consumer products from toys to new cars. Hazardous cargos can be especially dangerous to workers and must be carefully handled to avoid spills and damage to the environment. Longshoring refers to the loading and handling of cargo, gear, or other materials to and from a ship. 

Through the operation of ships and marine terminals, the shipping industry can pose environmental and human health threats. Sewage, solid waste, oily water waste, and contaminated waste collected on ships are discharged into onshore holding tanks. A ship’s ballast and bilge tanks may be emptied of dirty water into the surrounding waters. 

Ships emit air pollution from burning fuel. Newer diesel engines are less polluting than older steam engines that burn oil or coal. Diesel-powered equipment at marine terminals, such as trucks, tractors, and forklifts, also contributes to air pollution. Excessive particulate matter and dust may be released during cargo handling. Workers in the shipping industry can be exposed to air pollution at a marine terminal or to chemicals in gasoline or other fuels. They also face the safety hazards of operating heavy-duty trucks, cranes, forklifts, and other moving equipment.

This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.

Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Occupational Health

More Links
Crane, Derrick, and Hoist Safety (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Maritime Industry home page (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift Trucks) (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Traffic Safety in Marine Terminals (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Transporting Radioactive Material (Environmental Protection Agency)
Trucking Industry (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Warehousing (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Chemicals and Shipping
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide
Crude Oil
Ethylene Glycol
Natural Gas
Nitrogen Oxides
Particulate Matter
Perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC)
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Sulfur Dioxide
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Last Updated: August 16, 2016

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