A shipping container port is a facility where the containers carrying cargo are transported among various kinds of conveyance facilities for the process of transportation. The shipping occurs on various modes of transportation like land, sea, rail, and even air at times. People often get perplexed between container port and terminals. But both are different. Container terminals are within the port area. They provide accommodation facilities to numerous boats and vessels carrying freight or passengers. 

International container terminal services are an integral part of international maritime transport, within which most of all foreign trade transactions are carried out. Therefore, modern seaports are characterized by a high degree of concentration of goods in the general movement of goods flows. 

An estimated 90% of world trade is facilitated by maritime shipping, and as trade volumes continue to increase, the busiest container ports in the world continue to grow larger and can more efficiently meet demands.  Seaports have been historically used even before the invention of airports and other modes of transports to carry goods internationally. 

Here is a list of the top 10 busiest seaports in the world that have been playing their part in the process of handling the inflow and outflow of goods, while maintaining and growing the global economy: 

10. Port of Tianjin, China 

The Port of Tianjin is one of the primary logistics and shipping hubs of North China. It is situated on the western shore of the Bohai Bay, on the estuary of the Haihe River. It is known as the largest port in Northern China and the main seafaring gateway to Beijing. It has a total area of 100 Square kilometers. Tianjin Port is mainly composed of 4 big port areas – Tianjin East, Tianjin North, Tianjin South, and River Port. The one situated at the north side is mainly used for shipping container services, whereas the south port is used to ship cargo in bulk and liquid cargo. The River Port is more suitable for cargo boxes below 5000 tons.

Latest statistics

  • The container volume at Tianjin Port for the year 2015 was 14.11 million TEUs 
  • On average, the daily cargo value was approximately $477 million
  • The port spans over 130 square miles of land and water

 9. Port of Jebel Ali, UAE

Jebel Ali Port is a gateway hub that enables trade across the middle-east region and beyond. It is a vital link in the global trade network, connecting eastern and western markets with North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. As an integrated intermodal hub offering sea, air, and land connectivity, accompanied by extensive logistics facilities, the port plays a vital role in the UAE economy. It is a premier gateway for over 80 weekly shipping services, connecting more than 150 ports worldwide.

Latest statistics 

  • It is also known as the world’s largest artificial harbor, and the ninth-largest container port in the world, with a capacity of 21.1 million containers.
  • Container volume in 2018 was 14.95 million TEUs

8. Port of Qingdao, China 

The Port of Qingdao is a seaport on the Yellow Sea in the vicinity of Qingdao, Shandong Province, in the People’s Republic of China. It is one of the ten busiest seaports in the world. It consists of four areas, Dagang, Qianwan, Huangdong oil, and Dongjiakou port area. 

The Qingdao harbour trades with more than 450 ports across 130 countries and regions. It is a major hub for international trade and sea-going transportation within the Yellow River Chinese region of and along China’s Pacific coastline. It can accommodate the world’s biggest vessels and remarkable volumes of cargo.

Latest statistics

  •  The port of Qingdao handled container volume of more than $18 million TEUs. 

7. Port of Guangzhou, China 

Port of Guangzhou is the main seaport of Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China. It is situated at the crossing of the three most important rivers of Dongxiang, Xijiang, and Beijing in South China. All these rivers have waterway, railway, expressway, and airlines type of transportation intersecting, thus making it a very important nucleus for transportation. It is the main area of focus in the Pearl River Delta Region. 

This harbour plays a very important role in the Chinese economy. It handles a wide variety of shipping-related tasks like loading and discharging, storage, container cargo services, etc. Many agricultural, industrial, and manufactured products are also transported through here which includes oil, coal, grain, chemical fertilizer, steel, ore, and automobiles. It also provides passenger services as well as logistics services. 

The port is part of the Maritime Silk Road that runs from the Chinese coast to the southern tip of India, to Mombasa, through the Red Sea past the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, to the Upper Adriatic region of the northern Italian hub Trieste with its rail connections to Central Europe and the North Sea.

Latest statistics 

  • Also known as the port of Nansha, it is the biggest all-inclusive hub port in South China, Port of   Guangzhou has been experiencing an increase in cargo volume and ships calling in.
  • It handled $21.87 million TEUs’ worth in volume for the year 2018. 
  • It was also named the 5th largest seaport in the world, 4th in China. 

6. Port of Busan, South Korea 

The Port of Busan is located at the mouth of the Naktong River in South Korea. It is widely acclaimed as the fifth busiest container port worldwide and the largest transshipment port in north-east Asia. The Port of Busan consists of four smaller ports- in North region, in South region, Gamcheon, and Dadaepo Port.It is also a part of the Maritime Silk Road.

Latest statistics

  • In 2017 Busan processed more than $20 million TEUs worth of cargo.
  • The Port of Busan handles nearly 40% of the country’s total marine cargo, 80% of its container cargo, and 42% of national fisheries production. It handles nearly 130 vessels every day. 

5. Port of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

The Port of Hong Kong, located by the South China Sea, is a deep-water led by trade in manufactured products. A key factor in the economic development of Hong Kong, it provides ideal conditions for berthing and the handling of all types of vessels. It is considered one of the biggest shipping ports in the world, especially in the areas of shipping movements, passengers carried and cargo handled.  Hong Kong is one of several hubs serving the South-East and East Asia region and is an economic gateway to mainland China.

It is also home to about 795 vessels from 14 government departments. These vessels are assigned to the marine department’s operations or for other departments which do not have their fleet.

Latest statistics

  • TEUs handled in 2018 by Hong Kong seaport was $19.60 million 
  • It has been one of the busiest container ports around the world for many years and at times the busiest. It was the world’s busiest container port from 1987 to 1989, from 1992 to 1997, and from 1999 to 2004. 

4. Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China

The Port of Ningbo lies on the coastal plain of the Yong River about 15 nautical miles upstream from Hangzhou Bay and about 150 kilometers (93 miles) south of Shanghai. It has a long tradition of waterborne trade and commerce. 

The port is also part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This is involved in economic trade with cargo shipment, raw materials, and manufactured goods from as far as North and South America and Oceania. It has economic trade with over 560 ports from more than 90 countries and regions in the world. It is one of the growing numbers of harbours in China with a cargo throughput volume exceeding 100 million tons annually.

 Latest statistics

  • The port was responsible for handling $26.35 million TEUs in 2018.
  • Ningbo is one of the oldest ports in China, first acting as a port of call in 752 A.D.

3. Port of Shenzhen, China

The port of Shenzhen is most often the collective name used for a large number of ports that are situated on the coastline of Shenzhen, China. If taken together as a whole, this collection form one of the busiest and fastest developing container ports in the world. It is spread along almost 260 km of coastline, along with the city of Shenzhen. The port has been broadly classified into 2 major parts, the western, and the eastern port. 

The western area is connected to the Pearl River region that interlinks several cities and countries that are situated on the banks of the river. The eastern area is located near Dapeng Bay and is claimed to be the most superior natural harbor in all of South China.

It also boasts about being a part of the Maritime Silk Road which makes it easier to connect the whole world via rail or road.

More than 40 shipping companies have found it suitable to have their headquarters in this huge port, where they have also launched more than 130 international shipping routes to make transportation of cargo more viable. It is known for having more than 560 ships monthly, and 21 feeder routes to other ports in the Pearl River Delta region.

 Latest statistics

  • The Shenzhen port carried a volume of $27.72 million TEUs in the year 2018.

 2. Port of Singapore, Singapore

The port of Singapore is widely known as the second busiest seaport in the world, and the largest publicly owned port in the world.

It ships almost one-fifth of the world’s total shipping containers, and half of the world’s supply of crude oil, making it a very important seaport in the world economy. It was the world’s largest until 2015 in terms of total cargo tonnage when it was taken over by Shanghai port in the same. It is connected to over 600 ports worldwide, in over 130 countries, and has a connection in almost every continent in the world.

There are a lot of facilities that are engaged in the handling of cargo that can be transported in the form of containers as well as cargo in bulk. At any given time of the day, you find more than 1000 shipping containers present in the Singapore harbour at that very moment. This port is also a part of the maritime Silk Road.

 Latest statistics

  • In 2018, $36.60 million TEUs’ worth of volume was processed

 1. Port of Shanghai, China

The Port of Shanghai, located in the vicinity of Shanghai, comprises a deep-sea and a river port. Located in Shanghai, China, it covers an area of 3,619.6km² at the mouth of the Yangtze River. It is situated in the middle of the 18,000km-long Chinese coastline. The Shanghai port imports and exports more than one-fourth of all the cargo traffic in China, making it the world’s biggest seaport.

Every month, more than 2,000 container ships depart from Shanghai, heading for various parts of the world. The port aids 281 shipping routes, which makes it essential as it covers all global links. It beat the port of Singapore in being the busiest port in the world. The Shanghai harbour is a critically important transport hub and an important gateway for foreign trade.

Latest statistics

  • The port handled $42.01 million TEUs worth of cargo in 2018 and set a record for the same.
  • In August 2019, the Port of Shanghai was named the ‘best-connected port in the world.’

Manufacturers, buyers, suppliers from all the industries across the globe constantly depend on ocean shipping services for exporting and importing their shipments. The container shipping industry has enormously expanded over the last few decades and consequently, the port and dock facilities have also been greatly enhanced to accommodate the constantly growing requirements.