Down by the sea: world’s 50 busiest container ports


Below is a list of the world’s 50 busiest container ports as measured by twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Of the top 50, eleven are in China, four in the United States and Japan, and two each are in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Spain, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  Each continent is represented except Oceania and Antarctica, while Asia dominates with 32 of the 50 busiest container ports. One quibble I have with the data is the fact that Los Angeles and Long Beach are listed separately. If combined, they would have ranked as the seventh largest container port in the world with 12,660 TEUs.


Another interesting feature is to see two critical canal access cities on the list. Port Said, Egypt at the Mediterranen entrance to the Suez Canal is ranked 33rd and Balboa, Panama at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal is ranked 43rd. There rankings could be partially due to the fact that some of the largest ocean-going ships cannot use the canals, so they act as transfer points. Not sure why their counterparts, Suez and Panama City, are not represented, though it may have to do with how the data is tabulated.

To me the most surprising features of the data are only one city in India is represented (Mumbai) and that not one port from Russia is  on the list. One would think either St. Petersburg, Vladavostok, or Odessa would be a busy enough containerport. While not as noticeable as the busiest air cargo airport list from January 29th, eleven of these 50 ports are located in nations that are relatively small in geography and/or population.

For planners, it is interesting to note how some smaller cities have found an important niche in the containerport marketplace. Savannah, Georgia is an excellent example. It is considerably smaller in population than most of the cities on the list, but is ranked 41st in the world and 3rd/4th in the United States depending on whether you combine Los Angeles and Long Beach into one data set. The city and the Georgia Ports Authority should be quite proud of their efforts to capitalize on the growth in the container shipping business and other seaport cities may want to take notes from Savannah’s successful example of an 11.5% compounded annual growth rate between 2000 and 2010 (see chart link). I am fairly certain that Seattle, the Bay Area, Jacksonville, Hampton Roads, Tampa, Mobile, and Boston may all be interested, here in the United States. kudos to Savannah, Georgia for their unparalleled success over the past decade.


Here is the list.

 CITY                      COUNTRY              TEUs
1 Shanghai China 29,069
2 Singapore Singapore 28,431
3 Hong Kong China 23,699
4 Shenzhen China 22,510
5 Busan South Korea 14,194
6 Ningbo China 13,144
7 Guangzhou China 12,550
8 Qingdao China 12,012
9 Dubai UAE 11,600
10 Rotterdam Netherlands 11,140
11 Tianjin China 10,080
12 Kaohsiung Taiwan   9,180
13 Port Klang Malaysia   8,870
14 Antwerp Belgium   8,470
15 Hamburg Germany   7,910
16 Tanjung Pelepas Malaysia   6,540
17 Los Angeles USA   6,500
18 Long Beach USA   6,260
19 Xiamen China   5,820
20 New York City Metro USA   5,290
21 Dalian China   5,260
22 Laem Chabang Thailand   5,190
23 Bremen/Bremerhaven Germany   4,890
24 Jakarta Indonesia   4,720
25 Tokyo Japan   4,280
26 Mumbai India   4,280
27 Valencia Spain   4,210
28 Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam   4,110
29 Colombo Sri Lanka   4,080
30 Lianyungang China   3,870
31 Jeddah Saudi Arabia   3,830
32 Salalah Oman   3,490
33 Port Said Egypt   3,480
34 Yingkou China   3,340
33 Felixstowe UK   3,300
36 Yokohama Japan   3,260
37 Manila Philippines   3,250
38 Surabaya Indonesia   3,040
39 Khor Fakkan UAE   3,020
40 Gioia Tauro Italy   2,850
41 Savannah USA   2,830
42 Algeciras Spain   2,810
43 Balboa Panama   2,760
44 Santos Brazil   2,720
45 Bandar-Abbas Iran   2,590
46 Durban South Africa   2,550
47 Nagoya Japan   2,550
48 Istanbul Turkey   2,540
49 Kobe Japan   2,540
50 Vancouver Canada   2,510
This entry was posted in Asia, cities, economic development, Europe, land use, planning, transportation, Uncategorized, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Down by the sea: world’s 50 busiest container ports

  1. Bismarck says:

    Thanks for the work, it helps me with a essays. From Mexico


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