Sea freight and port operations form a vital part of the supply chain. In fact, more than 90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea, according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Elsewhere in this issue, industry expert Liz Wells takes a closer look at the state of the global shipping industry. In this article though, we identify the world’s five largest ports based on container traffic: Singapore (Singapore), Shanghai (China), Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Shenzhen (China) and Busan (South Korea).
1. Port of Singapore
Established in 1996, the Port of Singapore has since become a global hub port and international maritime center. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is the driving force behind port operations and is responsible for regulating port activities. On average, the Port of Singapore attracts 140,000 vessel calls annually. In terms, of shipping tonnage, it is the busiest port in the world.
> 2-3 ships arrive or leave Singapore every minute.
> There are 1,000 vessels in the port at any one time.
> It is connected to more than 600 ports worldwide.
> 120,000 ships call at Singapore every year.
> 5,000 maritime companies contribute approximately 7 percent to Singapore’s gross domestic product.
2. Port of Shanghai
The Port of Shanghai is one of China’s most vital gateways for foreign trade, as its location suggests. Situated in the center of the country’s coastline, it sits where the Yangtse River meets the sea. According to the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), which operates all public terminals at the port, annual import and export trade through Shanghai accounts for a quarter of China’s total foreign trade.
> Container throughput reached 21.71 million TEUs in 2006, which saw it ranked the third largest container port in the world for three consecutive years.
> Over 2,000 container ships depart from the port every month.
> SIPG operates 125 berths on a total quay length of about 20km.
> SIPG also owns 5,143 units of cargo handling equipment.
3. Port of Hong Kong
One of the busiest international container ports in the world, Hong Kong is the location for major cargo handling facilities. It is more commonly known as the “fragrant harbor” and is situated in close proximity to the Pearl River Delta Region. The Hong Kong Port Development Council (PDC) was started in 2003 and is focused on port planning and promotion. The port is vital to the economic growth of both Hong Kong and southern China, and handles 89 percent of Hong Kong’s total cargo throughput.
> The port handled 21 million 20 foot TEUs.
> In 2009, 205,510 ships visited the Port of Hong Kong.
> It provided about 400 container liner services per week last year, which connected to over 500 destinations globally.
> The Kwai Chung-Tsing Yi Container Terminals handled 15.2 million TEUs in 2009, accounting for 72 percent of the port’s total container throughput.
4. Port of Shenzhen
Shenzhen Port is adjacent to Hong Kong and south of the Pearl River Delta. Over 30 billion Yuan was invested in the port between 1979 and 2004 in order to construct port infrastructure facilities. By 2004, cargo throughput reached 135 million tons, an increase of 20.33 percent on 2003. While the port serves the Shenzhen area and makes an important economic contribution, it is also a vital hub for Guangdong Province, South China, Hong Kong and international container transhipment.
> Annual handling capacity is 83.764 million tons, including 6.2 million TEUs.
> The total length of the port’s coastline amounts to 22,149.7 meters.
> On a monthly basis, 560 ships call at the port.
5. Port of Busan
The largest transhipment port in northeast Asia, Busan Port has been developed by Busan Port Authority (BPA) since 2004. It is located on the main trunk route and has a feeder network connecting to ports in China, Japan and Russia. The BPA has overseen the implementation of technologies such as the U-Port system and speedy screening system at the port. It is also investing heavily in overseas projects, including Russia’s Nakhodka Port and logistics projects in Hunchun and Zarubino in China.
> Busan Port handles over 13 million TEUs annually.
> The port is deep enough to accommodate more than 10,000 TEU container vessels.
> It is also in active echange with 500 ports in 100 countries.