An industry friend of mine recently told me that if you mapped world shipping activity it would look like a 1938 battle map with china at the center. So why not do just that? Here are the maps we came up with:
The following map from worldmapper.org uses relative size to show proportion of all shipping containers being loaded and unloaded in each country. (click on map to view pdf version).
Here is a world map showing where wal-mart gets its products:
Here is a chart of world imports to the US for 2007 (to date) :