Top 10 Ports in Terms of Container Traffic

Top 10 Ports in Terms of Container Traffic

2022 Jul 08

Ports play significant roles in world trade since the shipping industry is one of the major sectors of the economy. With many people shipping goods overseas, ports have become very busy. The ports with the most container traffic are discussed below.

1. Port of Shanghai - China

The Port of Shanghai is the world's biggest container port and has a container throughput of 43.3 million TEU. It is located in Shanghai, China, at coordinates 30° 37′ 35.54″ N, 122° 3′ 53.85″ E. The Port of Shanghai was named the world's busiest container port in 2010 and has been leading for 12 consecutive years. It contains both a deep-sea port and a river port. Huangpu River, Yangtze River, and Qiantang River converge at the Port of Shanghai.

The Port of Shanghai was opened in 1842 as a treaty port and was operated by Shanghai Port Authority. In 2003, Shanghai International Port Company Limited took over the management.

Currently, there are about 2223 vessels at the Port of Shanghai. 70% of the shipping vessels are cargo vessels, 12% are container ships, 3% are tankers, 2% are fishing vessels, and 1% are bulk carriers. Some of these vessels are Xue Long, Morning Lady, Cornelia Maersk, Morning Linda, Vermont Trader, MSC Toronto, CMA CGM Berlioz, Maersk Savannah, Ever Ulysses, Hyundai Mars, Lurline, Ever Utile, MSC Lily, Actuaria, Prestige, and Manulani.

The Port of Shanghai has three harbor zones:

  • Huangpu River: This is the longest river in Central Shanghai. It is 113-kilometer long and flows from Diangshan Lake to the Yangtze River. 
  • Yangshan Deep Water Port: This is the biggest deep water port, and is located in Hangzhou Bay, Shanghai. It was opened in 2005 and is currently operated by Shanghai International Port Group. 
  • Yangtze River: This is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. It flows 6300 kilometers from the Tanggula Mountains to the East China Sea.

2. Port of Singapore - Singapore

Before the Port of Shanghai was named the world's busiest container port, the Port of Singapore was the top. Since then, the port of Shanghai has been the second-busiest container port in the world, with a container throughput of 37.2 million TEUs. It is located on the southern end of the Malay Peninsula at coordinates N 01° 15' 33.71" - E 103° 45' 16.01". This port was established in 1896 and is managed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. It has access to 600 ports in over 120 countries.

Annually, the Port of Singapore supplies an average of 50.6 million tons of Bunker. This makes it the leading port in terms of bunkering. Bunkering involves the supply of fuel to ships. Another important fact about the Port of Singapore is that it is the leading transshipment hub in the world.

The Port of Singapore has two major commercial terminal operators:

  • Jurong Port: This is the leading bulk and conventional terminal operator in Singapore. It deals with cement, copper slag, and project cargo.
  • PSA Singapore Terminals: It operates four container terminals - Keppel, Brani, Tanjong Pagar, and Pasir Panjang. These terminals have more than 50 berths. Compared to Jurong Port, PSA Singapore operator handles more terminals. 

Every year, about 130,000 vessels call at the Port of Singapore. There are more than 1000 vessels at this port. This port accommodates vessels of all types such as container ships, ro-ro ships, cargo freighters, coastal trading ships, lighters, and bulk carriers. The ships at the Port of Singapore include Nimble Leopard, Pacific Spirit, ES Aspire, Hydropro 6, QSA Purari, Nautical Baltic, SC 4409 E, Yew Choon 8, Eagle Bay, and J C Marine 44. 

3. Port of Shenzhen - China

Located in Shenzhen, China, the Port of Shenzhen is one of the largest and busiest container ports in the world with a container throughput of 27.7 million TEUs. It lies at coordinates N 22° 30' 16.19" - E 113° 51' 12.60". This port hosts 40 shipping companies that have launched 130 overseas container lines. It was established in 1980 and is owned by Shenzhen Government.

The Port of Shenzhen has three main ports: Yantian Port, Nanshan Port, and Dachan Bay Port, and is connected to 300 ports in more than 100 countries. The main terminals at the Port of Shenzhen are:

  • Yantian International Container Terminals
  • Shenzhen Haixing
  • Chiwan Container Terminals
  • Shekou Container Terminals
  • China Merchants Port

These terminals have a total of 141 berths: 90 operations berths and 51 berths for vessels. The operation berths include container berths, consignee berths, passenger ferry berths, non-productive berths, etc. 

All types of vessels call at the Port of Shenzhen, with the most regular being Cargo ships (70%), Container ships (16%), Tanker (3%), Passenger (0%), Crude Oil Tanker (0%). At every moment, there are about 86 vessels. Some of the ships in this port are Huihang 222, K 04 99, Zhong Yhun 313, Yue Dao Jian 908, Aug C 02 83, and Rongjing23.

4. Ningbo Zhoushan Port - China

In terms of cargo tonnage, Ningbo Zhoushan is the busiest port in the world. In 2021, this port had a cargo throughput of 1.22 billion tonnes. It is located in Ningbo and Zhoushan, Zheijiang, and lies at coordinates 29°56′N 121°50′E. This port was established in 1738 and is managed by Ningbo Zhoushan Port Company Limited.

Ningbo Zhoushan Port has a container throughput of 26.4 million TEU. This ranks it the fourth busiest container port in terms of container traffic. This year (2022), the port has experienced growth as it continues to expand its facilities. 

5. Port of Guangzhou - China

The port of Guangzhou is located in Guangzhou Province, China, at coordinates N 23° 05' 07.79" - E 113° 25' 30.01". It was established in 2004 and has become the leading seaport in Guanzhou City. Guangzhou is actually the leading comprehensive hub port in South China. It has a container throughput of 21.9 million TEU. This port is owned by the government and managed by Guangzhou Port Group Company Limited. This company is in charge of the following activities.

  • Storage of cargo
  • Loading and discharging cargo
  • Providing warehousing service
  • Logistics
  • Transportation of waterway cargo

Guanzhou Port lies between three rivers: Xinjiang, Beijiang, and Dongjiang, at the Pearl River Delta. The port is, therefore, the most important transportation and economic center in Guangzhou Province. The port of Guangzhou is made up of 133 buoys, 4600 berths, and 2359 anchorages.

The Port of Guangzhou has the following terminals:

  • Nansha Port Area: It is located in Huangge on the Pearl River's West Bank and contains the Phase One and Two container terminals, the Nansha Automobile Terminal, a grain and multi-purpose terminal, and three terminals for petrochemicals. Customs clearance is performed at the Nansha Port Centralized Inspection Center (NPCIC).
  • Xinsha Port Area: This terminal is located east of the Pearl River. It contains deep-water berths for handling containers, automobiles, bulk grains, coal, and bulk cargo.
  • Huangpu Port Area: This terminal majorly handles containers, heavy items, bulky goods, and oil products.
  • Downtown Port Are: It contains the Henan, Xinfeng, and Dashatou terminals and majorly deals in cargo handling.
  • Container terminals: Terminal and the Xinfeng Terminal (downtown port area), the Huangpu Old Port and Huangpu New Port (Huangpu Port Area), the Xinsha Terminal (Xinsha Port Area), and the Guangzhou South China Oceangate Terminal and the Nansha Stevedoring Company (Nansha Port area). The companies that deal with container handling include Huangpu Branch Company, Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal, Xinfeng Branch Company, Henan Branch Company, Guangzhou Container Terminal Company Limited, and Nansha Stevedoring Company.

Other terminals include Nansha Terminal, Xinsha Terminal, and Henan and Xinfeng Terminals.

The Port of Guangzhou has more than 500 vessels. The types of ships that call at the port are cargo vessels (88%), tankers (4%), fishing vessels (0%), and bulk carriers (0%). Long Yue 228, Hui Shui Ba 39, and Kai Hang 008 are some of the vessels in the Port of Guangzhou.

6. Basan Port - South Korea

Located on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the Port of Busan is the largest port in South Korea. It lies at coordinates 35°04′42" N, 129°01′01" E. In terms of container traffic, this port ranks sixth worldwide with a container throughput of 21.7 million TEUs. This port was established in 1876 and has kept growing due to its strategic location. The main reason for its development was to make it easy for South Korea to carry out maritime trade with China and Japan.

The Busan Port Authority is in charge of developing, managing, and running operations at the Port of Busan. The port has various facilities. These facilities include six container terminals, an international passenger terminal, and four modern ports. These ports are:

  • North Port: Handles passengers and cargo.
  • South Port: This is Korea's largest fishing point.
  • Gamcheon Port: The volume of cargo at the Port of Busan was increasing hence the development of Gamcheon port, to handle this.
  • Dandaepo Port: It deals with coastal catches.

The container terminals at the Port of Busan are:

  • Gamman container terminal
  • Sinseondae container terminal
  • Singamman container terminal
  • Coastal Ferry Terminal

Busan port handles an average of 130 shipping vessels daily, with 422 vessels in the port at any time. The types of ships that call at this port include fishing (16%), container ships (15%), general cargo (14%), tankers (7%), and fishing vessels (7%). 

7. Port of Hong Kong - China

This is a seaport located on the Kowloon Peninsula, South China Sea. It has 24 container berths, a quay length of 7694m, and it occupies 279ha of area. This port ranks seventh in container traffic as it has a container throughput of 19.6 million TEUs. Every year, this port handles an average of 456,000 vessels.

The Port of Hong Kong is managed by the Marine Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This department is mainly in charge of controlling and monitoring the movement of ships. It also manages three container terminals and eight cargo working areas. The port hosts 14 government departments and 795 vessels.

In terms of facilities, the Port of Hong Kong has nine container terminals established in three areas (Kwai Chung, Stonecutters Island, and Tsing Yi). The companies that are in control of these companies are:

  • Hong Kong International Terminals Limited
  • COSCO Informational and Technology Limited
  • Modern Terminals Limited
  • Dubai Port International Limited
  • Asia Container Terminals Limited

8. Port of Qingdao - China

Established in 1892, the Port of Qingdao has grown to become one of the busiest ports in the world with a container throughput of 19.3 million TEU. It is located in the Yellow Sea, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, and lies at coordinates N 36° 03' 23.79" - E 120° 19' 12.27". This port is owned by the Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal Company Ltd and managed by the Qingdao Port Authorities. It consists of 34 major ports and over 2000 minor ports.

The Port of Qingdao comprises the following port areas:

  • Dagang port area
  • Qianwan port area
  • Guangdong oil port area
  • Dongjiakou port area

The vessels in the Port of Qingdao are about 379. The types of vessels that call at this port include container ships (31%), fishing (22%), cargo ships (13%), bulk Carrier (7%), and general Cargo (7%).

9. Port of Tianjin - China

In 1860, the Port of Tianjin was established in Tianjin, China. This port is owned by Tianjin State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and is currently operated by Tianjin Port Group Limited. It lies at coordinates N 38° 58' 08.54" - E 117° 44' 14.13". This port ranks ninth in container traffic worldwide, with a container throughput of 16 million TEUs.

The Port of Tianjin has 462 vessels, including Xinhai 66, Tian Ji, Hua Sheng You 122, Zhong You Hai1225, and others. The port has access to 600 ports in more than 180 countries.

This port has anchorage areas whose functions are:

  • Berth waiting
  • Inspection and pilotage
  • Quarantine
  • To provide shelter from the weather

10. Port of Jebel Ali - United Arabs Emirates

The Port of Jebel Ali was constructed in the 1970s in Arabian Gulf, Persian Gulf, in the United Arabs Emirates, to supplement facilities in Port Rashid, Dubai. It lies at coordinates  N 25° 00' 11.81" - E 055° 03' 07.42". Jebel Ali port ranks tenth in container traffic with a container throughput of 15 million TEU.

Some of the activities at the Port of Jebel include:

  • Export stuffing
  • Containers weight reduction
  • Cross stuffing
  • Handling transshipment cargo
  • Cargo delivery
  • LCL and FCL
  • Storage

This port has three terminals, which are:

  • Terminal 1 - It has a capacity of 9 million TEU, with 15 berths, and 51 quay cranes.
  • Terminal 2 - It has a capacity of 6.5 million TEU, with 32 berths, and 8 quay cranes.
  • Terminal 3 - It has a capacity of 3.8 million TEUs, with 5 berths, 50 automated rail-mounted gantry yard cranes (ARMG), and 19 automated quay cranes.