Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain
For the fourth year in a row, Shanghai has been ranked as the world’s largest container port by the Journal of Commerce.
The organization, which ranks all of the world’s ports according to the volume of containers that pass through them, revealed that when it comes to the size and scope of port traffic, Asia is the world leader, holding 9 of the 10 top port rankings and filling 26 of the top 50 slots for the past year, according to a JOC news release.
In 2013, Shanghai handled 33.62 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) cargo containers. That’s up 3.3% from 2012, when it handled 32.53 million TEUs. The Shanghai port is supported by three busy manufacturing areas — Wusongkou, Waigaoqiao and the deep-water Yanghan. It also is the gateway port for the Yangtze River Delta.
Close behind Shanghai is the Port of Singapore, which handled 32.6 million TEUs in 2013, an increase of 2.9% from 2012. Singapore is the world’s busiest trans-shipment hub.
China Captures Third and Fourth Spots
Two Chinese ports — Shenzhen and Hong Kong — captured third and fourth place, respectively. Shenzhen is adjacent to Hong Kong and south of the Pearl River Delta in China’s Guangdong province, an important manufacturing area. Wal-Mart’s Asian headquarters and global procurement center is located in Shenzhens’ special economic zone.
Hong Kong was the world’s biggest port from 1999 until 2004. Its volume was actually down 3.3% in 2013 due to a 40-day dockworker strike at five of its terminals. The strike was resolved in early 2013.
Rounding out the top ten of the world’s largest ports were Busan (South Korea), Ningbo-Zhoushan (China), Quingdao (China), Guangzhou Harbor (China), Jebel Ali (Dubai) and Tianjin (China).
Rotterdam Europe’s Largest Port
Europe’s largest and busiest port was in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which came in 11th in the global rankings. Its traffic volume also decreased during 2013 — from 11.87 million TEUs in 2012 to 11.62 million in 2013, or a drop of 2.1% — due to the results of a massive reconstruction and expansion project.
The only US port to make the top 20 was the Port of Los Angeles, which handled 7.87 million TEUs in 2013, down 2.6% from 8.08 million TEUs the previous year. But when combined with the nearby Port of Long Beach, the two had a combined volume of 14.6 million TEUs, which would rank it ninth globally with a year-over-year growth rate of 3.4%.
Four US ports were ranked in the top 50, handling a combined 23.1 million TEUs, or the equivalent of what’s handled annually by the Shenzhen port. In addition to Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Port of New York and New Jersey, with 5.5 million TEUs, and ports in Georgia, with 3 million TEUs, were also in the top 50. Just missing the cut were Virginia, Oakland and Houston.
Asia Captures Largest Market Share
Asian ports showed the largest growth in 2013, with a 4.2% year-over-year growth, outpacing the 3.2% growth among the top 50 overall. US ports showed a 1.7% growth rate, while the 10 European ports in the top 50 had only a 1.3% growth rate. The six ports in the Middle East and Africa showed only about a 1% growth rate.
Asia led regional market share with 70.5% of the 421.3 million TEUs of cargo containers the top 50 ports handled in 2013. European ports held 13.5% market share, while the Americas held 8.5% and the Middle East and Africa held a 7.5% market share.