• Data: Upply; Image: ITJ; Illust_monster / Instantly /

29.05.2024 By: Andreas Haug

Artikel Nummer: 49791

Asians on course; Tanger in the top 20

Maritime container gateways in 2023. Last year the 20 largest container ports in the world handled around 388 million teu, which was 1.24% more than in 2022. According to the analysts at Upply this growth was due largely to Asian ports (and amongst them Chinese ones, to be more precise), as they accounted for 15 of the 20 largest gateways. European and US-American representatives lost ground, whilst an African one rose up the rankings.

Almost one in eight of all containers handled in maritime transport last year passed through the port of Shanghai, thus confirming its leading position in the world. The other ports on the podium, namely Singapore and Ningbo-Zhoushan, also increased their volumes compared to 2022.

A new Chinese representative in the ranking of the top 20 ports worldwide is in position 20. Beibu Gulf Port (BGP) nicely complements the hubs in the Pearl River Delta. Of the latter only Hong Kong broke ranks, as a result of which it was overtaken by Jebel Ali (United Arab Emirates, 14.47 million teu, +3.6%), and only just retained tenth place.

The airport of China’s Special Administrative Region, in contrast, remains the world’s No. 1 airfreight hub (see our report in the ITJ Daily of 16 April 2024).

Regionalising supply chains

The entry of the port Tanger Med, the leading African container port (8.62 million teu, +13.4%), and of China’s Beibu Gulf Port, can be interpreted as a trend towards the regionalisation of supply chains.

The Moroccan port can serve as a gateway to Europe, as North Africa is considered an important nearshoring location for the European market, and Beibu Gulf Port is ideally positioned for trade in the China / Asean region.

Europe now no longer has a representative in the top ten. Rotterdam (13.45 million teu, –7%), which held tenth place for many years, has been overtaken by Jebel Ali and Port Klang (Malaysia); it is now only ranked twelfth.

Antwerp-Bruges also lost two places and is now 14th worldwide, with Europe’s second-largest port handling 12.53 million teu (–7.2%). Hamburg slowed by the exact same 7.2% as the Belgians, and thus remains outside the top 20 with its 7.7 million teu throughput.

An eye on the Pacific

Los Angeles is the only US port in the list. It sits in 18th with 8.63 million teu (–12.9%). A big decline (–12.2%) was also recorded by neighbouring Long Beach, to 8.02 million teu, and by New York / New Jersey (–17.7% to 7.81 million teu).

China’s dominance is also reflected in another figure. The ten largest ports in the republic handled 224.8 million teu in 2023, or 5.1% more than in the previous year. Rizhao (6.26 million teu) and Lianyungang (6.14 million teu) are lurking just behind BGP, with above-average growth rates of approximately 7.9% and 10.2% respectively.


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