Vessel transport means cargo and passenger transport by sea; it generally covers all merchant ships. Today, one third of the cargo transfer is made by sea. Many goods were shipped only by sea until 17th century. By the Industrial Revolution, the production for global market begun, the mercantile fleet was enlarged thanks to rapidly-developing production techniques. New types of vessels with special coolers were built for the shipment of perishable goods such as meats and fruits.

Today, the ships are designed for cargo transfer, passenger transfer or both cargo and passenger transfer. There are two types of cargo vessels: Tankers and dry cargo vessels. Very large tankers transport liquid cargo such as oil and liquefied natural gas. Tankers are equipped with many stores. Dry cargo vessels transport cargo such as grain, coal, iron or brick.

Marine transport which is made with vessels equipped with large metal boxes convenient for cargo transport called as container begun in 1951. Today, any kind of cargo can be shipped by this method.

The cargos to be shipped are placed into metal containers. The cargo transported to the port by highway or rail road, are loaded onto the vessels which are specially designed for this purpose. While there are only three vessels by this method in 1968, the number of these vessels exceeded 300 in 1980's. Most of these vessels are two times larger than the first vessels having been used for marine transport. And, the cargo trucks are transported by the "ro-ro" ships from one port to other.

In vessel transport, there are modern port facilities such as storage vessels and floating piers for deep-sea ships which are too large to approach the Port.
Cargo vessels generally transport a certain number of passengers, however, today, passenger transport is mostly provided by ferries in short distance and luxurious cruise ships in long distance.
The condition of sea transfer industry closely depends on the condition of world trade. With the increase in trade, the amount of cargo shipped and profit volume rate also increase.