World Facts

The Busiest Ports In The World

Six Chinese ports are among the 10 busiest in the world, with Shanghai ranking the highest among them all in terms of container handling traffic.

Ports are an important source of economic development of a nation, as seaports connect many foreign countries for the purpose of carrying out trade across international waters. The items produced in surplus are exported to other countries, and the items lesser in quantity are imported from other countries. There is a close relation between the development of ports and world trade as the container sector has developed in more recent years and attracted more and more capital investment. The maritime transportation around the world has also influenced the recent changes in the economy, organizational structure, and technology, and these have in turn influenced maritime transport.

The World's Busiest Container Ports Lie In Southeast Asia

The busiest ports across the globe are ranked in terms of volume that is shipped, either in containers measured in "TEU" (twenty-foot equivalent units, or the amount shipped in a standard 20-foot intermodal container) or the weight of the cargo in tons. The Port of Shanghai handled 33 million TEU of container traffic in 2013, whereas the Port of Singapore handled 32 million TEU. In the same time frame, the Port of Shenzhen's container traffic was 23 million TEU, and other ports of the Chinese mainland remained busy with large quantities of container traffic as well.

Shanghai's Ongoing Growth

The Port of Shanghai in China ranked as one of the busiest ports in the world by surpassing the Port of Hong Kong and the Port of Singapore. The port has surpassed both the volume and tons of cargo transported from the other two respective seaports. Its harbor and port forms a portable maritime channel between the East China Sea and the River Yangtze. It is rated amongst the fastest growing ports as well, because in the year 2010 it handled around 29.05 million TEU, which grew to 35 million TEU in the year 2014. The development of the seaport has also contributed to the economic development of the city of Shanghai as a whole.

Other Major Chinese Ports

The Port of Shenzhen rated as one of the most rapidly developing container ports in the world. Operating in the Pearl River Delta region, it is the second busiest port in China with annual container traffic of 23,280 TEU. Other ports that are growing rapidly on the Chinese mainland are the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, which facilitates the shipping activities between southern and northern parts of the country and handles freight operations. Ningbo-Zhousan see annual container traffic of 17,351 TEU per year. The Port of Qingdao handles bulk carriers, and has annual traffic of 15,520 TEU. The Port of Guangzhou, with annual container traffic of 15,309 TEU, carries out the transit and shipping activities for large parts of the country, especially in iron ore. The Port of Tianjin, with annual traffic of 13,010 TEU, is regarded as the fourth largest in the matter of tonnage, and ninth for container handling, in the world.

Ports' Important Roles in Improving Trade

These major seaport facilitates import and export their cargo in an efficient manner from one country to another, and improve economic ties within and between foreign countries. They play an important role in the development of the industrial sector as well by moving its raw materials and final goods. The aforementioned ports on the Chinese mainland, and those from Hong Kong and Singapore, are rated among the busiest ports in the world. They have helped in the improvement of trade in the Asian countries, and even that of other foreign countries as well, in the process by which these ports have established their supremacy in this sector, which is clear from the data table below and the analysis above.

The Busiest Ports In The World

RankPortCountryContainer Traffic (in thousand TEU’s), 2013
1ShanghaiChina33,617
2SingaporeSingapore32,240
3ShenzhenChina23,280
4Hong Kong Hong Kong22,352
5BusanSouth Korea17,690
6Ningbo-ZhoushanChina17,351
7QingdaoChina15,520
8GuangzhouChina15,309
9Jebel Ali (Dubai)United Arab Emirates13,641
10TianjinChina13,010

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