General principles of the handling, stowage and carriage of cargoes
Introduction The transport of cargoes dates back through the centuries to the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and early Chinese, long before the Europeans, ventured beyond the shores of the Atlantic. Strong evidence exists that the Chinese Treasure Ships traded for spices, and charted the Americas, Antarctica, Australia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, before Columbus reportedly discovered America.*
The stones for the Pyramids of Egypt had to be brought up the River Nile or across the Mediterranean and this would reflect the means of lifting heavy weights, and transporting the same was a known science even before the birth of Christ. Marco Polo reported 200 000 vessels a year were plying the Yangtze River of China in 1271 and it must be assumed that commerce was very much alive with a variety of merchandise being transported over water.