Busiest Cargo Ports in Asia

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage moved.
The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage moved.

In the past two decades, the Asian economy has boomed beyond imagination. Countries like China, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have grown their economies to rival the west. Several factors have led to the economic growth of Asian countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have vast deposits of oil, while China, Japan, and South Korea are reaping profits from the manufacturing, processing, and technological industries. The volume of exports from this country has nearly doubled in only two decades. China, in particular, has captured the market of Africa, exporting millions of tons of products and importing millions more as raw materials. A majority of the largest ports in the world are in Asia. The ten busiest container ports are all in the continent while 8 of 10 ports that handles the largest volume of cargo are also in the continent.

Busiest Cargo Ports In Asia

Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage moved. The port is located in Ningbo and Zhoushan areas on the coast of the East China Sea. In 2015 the port moved 888.96 million tons of cargo and handled 20.636 million cargo containers. The volume of cargo handled in 2015 represents a 145m ton increment compared to 744,000 moved in 2012.

Port of Shanghai

The port of Shanghai ranks second with 646.514 million tons. The port also handled 36.516 million cargo containers to became the world busiest container port. Although the number of containers handled has been on a steady rise, the volume of cargo by tonnage decreased from the 696.985 million in 2013.

Port of Singapore

The Port of Singapore ranks third with 575.846 million tones and 30.922 million cargo containers. The port was the largest container port in the world until 2010 when it lost the title to the Port of Shanghai. The port transports half of the world’s crude oil supply and holds the title of the world's busiest transshipment port. The rise of Chinese ports has dealt a blow to the port of Singapore with the volume of cargo declining.

Qingdao Port

Qingdao Port in Qingdao, China, ranks fourth with 476.216 million tons of cargo and 17.3 million containers. The port is located in Qingdao, Shandong Province on the shore of the Yellow Sea. Since 2012, the port has witnessed a gradual increase in the volume of cargo handled by 68 million tons while the number of containers has doubled in just a single decade.

Port of Guangzhou

The port of Guangzhou ranks fifth with 475.481million tons of cargo and 17.1 million cargo containers. The port is located in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, at the intersection of the Dongjiang, Xijiang and Beijiang rivers.

Asia’s Largest Exporters

The dominance of Asia in sea transport is represented in its dominance in international trade. In 2016, Asia exported $5.858 trillion worth of merchandise goods accounting for about a third of the $17.9 trillion exported in the year. In 2016, China exported $2.011 trillion worth of goods, slightly lower than the EU which exported goods worth $2.659 trillion. Japan and South Korea ranked second and third in Asia with US $641 billion and $509 billion worth of goods, respectively. The two countries were ranked fourth and fifth respectively behind China, the US, and Germany.

Busiest Cargo Ports in Asia

RankPortCountryTotal Cargo Volume (Tons, 000s)
7BusanSouth Korea347,713
9KwangyangSouth Korea272,007
10Hong KongChina256,488
12Port KelangMalaysia219,786

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