Cardiff University has just published a report on working conditions in car carriers. In the 1970s most carried 2,000 cars and operated with a crew of about 40. Today they newest carry over 6,000 cars and have a crew of about 16. The University surveyed over 600, mainly Filipino, crew members. They used e-mail dairies from the crews, plus on-board observations.
Most Filipinos are on eight month contracts at $1,200 per month. This compares with $150 per month for a manufacturing worker in the Philippines. Many Filipinos hang around the shipping agencies for years before they secure a berth. They often do unpaid menial jobs for the agencies in the hope of getting a contract.
It is estimated that over 8 million cars are shipped around the world each year. Turnaround times have been greatly reduced and the ships spend very little time in port.