Translation:Shipping has always been important to us.
The English suggests it still is. Does Dutch have a similar expression to the French, say, where if it started in the past and continues in the present you use a present tense? Or if "has always been" has a present sense (ie has always been and continues to be), could you not say "Scheepvaart is altijd belangrijk voor ons" for "shipping has always been important to us"
No, scheepvaart is not the same as navigation. Maybe the word shipping is a bit misleading here, as shipping in english is also used for shipping packages (via truck, car etc). Scheepvaart is a word only used for ships (boats). :) Scheepvaart means the transport of goods/people by ships.
Not anymore. The modern meaning of navigation/navigatie is about getting bearings and plotting/following a route, and now also applies to non-ships, despite the Latin 'navis'. Originally navigare just meant 'to move about by ship'/ 'varen met een boot', and was used like 'sailing' is in modern English. The meaning has shifted.
Scheepvaart is Shipping [industry]. To ship [goods] is verschepen.