World Facts

The Busiest Cargo Ports in Europe

Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, is the busiest cargo port located in Europe.

Cargo ports load and unload cargo or container cargo using specialized equipment. Successful ports are located near regional distribution centres and act as distribution hubs across many transport links. Although in the UK ports are privately owned, in mainland Europe most ports are publicly owned. The port of Rotterdam is Europe's busiest container port. Below are Europe’s busiest cargo ports by tonnage.

The Busiest Cargo Ports in Europe

Port of Rotterdam

The port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is the largest in Europe and the 4th largest in the world. It handles about 466.4 million tons of cargo annually. It is located in the city of Rotterdam, and up until 2004, it was the busiest port in the world. By 2011, Rotterdam was the eleventh-largest container port, and by 2012, it was the world’s sixth largest port by cargo tonnage. The port of Rotterdam covers an area of 41 square miles and stretches for 25 miles. It includes the historic harbor of Delfshaven, Nieuw-Mathenesse, Vondelingenplaat, Waalhaven, Europoort, and several more.

Port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port and the 17th largest in the world. It handles about 209 million tons of cargo annually. It is located in Flanders, Belgium. The port is located at the heart of the continent and is accessible to capesize ship. Antwerp is located at the tidal of the estuary of the Scheldt. Ships of more than 100,000 tons can navigate the estuary and travel 49 miles inland. The docks of Antwerp are connected to the hinterland by road, rail, and waterways.

Port of Hamburg

The port of Hamburg is the third largest in Europe and the 26th largest in Europe. It is a sea port located on the Elbe River, 68 miles from the river’s mouth in the North Sea. The port handles 138 million tons of cargo annually. The port covers an area of 46 square miles of which 30 square miles covers the land mass.

Port of Amsterdam

Haven van Amsterdam (port of Amsterdam) is the 4th busiest port in Europe in terms of Cargo. The port handles about 95 million tons of cargo. It is located in the city of Amsterdam, Netherlands at the bank of the IJ bay and the North Sea Canal which connects to the North Sea. The port was established in the 13th century. In the 17th century it was used by the Dutch East India Company.

Port of Marseille

Marseille Fos Port (port of Marseille) is the largest seaport in France. It is the 5th largest in Europe and ranks 41 in the world. The port handles about 82 million tons of cargo annually. The port has two sites. The first being from La Joliette to l'Estaque while the second, Fos-sur-Mer, is located 31 miles north west of the city of Marseille.

The World's Busiest Container Ports

Shanghai is the largest container port terminal in the world with 36.6 million containers handles in the world. The port of Singapore (31m), Shenzhen (25m), and Ningbo-Zhoushan (21m), and Hong Kong (21m) are the other four busiest ports in the world

The Busiest Cargo Ports in Europe

RankPortCountryTotal Cargo Volume (Tons, 000s)
1RotterdamNetherlands466,363
2AntwerpBelgium208,423
3HamburgGermany137,824
4MarseillesFrance81,920
5BotasTurkey78,093
6Bremen/BremerhavenGermany73,447
7Novorossisk Russia73,328
8ValenciaSpain69,601
9Le HavreFrance68,289
10IzmitTurkey64,628
11PrimorskRussia59,606
12TriesteItaly57,161
13ConstantzaRomania56,337
14St. PetersburgRussia51,513
15GenoaItaly51,299

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