Even while each country works to improve its port infrastructure, a few world leaders with seaports are larger and busier than the others.
Considering Asia’s geographical location among key maritime trade routes linking European and Middle Eastern ports, it’s unsurprising that the busiest port facilities are in Asia.
The world’s busiest and top sea ports are determined by the container traffic that passes through them. As a result, the world’s largest ocean ports do not always have to be the busiest ports.
The marine sector has grown by leaps and bounds in recent decades, necessitating the construction of port and harbor infrastructure to meet these growing demands.
The ten busiest ports in the world—each singular and unique in its own right—are listed here.
Top Sea Ports Worldwide
- The Shanghai Port
The Shanghai Port is the busiest of the top sea ports in the world. This port, which is located in the People’s Republic of China’s metropolis of Shanghai, is also known as the world’s fastest-expanding economy.
In 2019, the Port of Shanghai surpassed its Singaporean counterpart as the world’s largest port, with a massive 37.1 million TEUs of cargo volume.
The port provides a viable marine port channel in the Yangtze River and the East China Sea. The port’s construction and expansion have been regarded as a critical factor in Shanghai’s progress.
The port, which covers an area of 4 km2, is vital and one of the top sea ports in the world, with cutting-edge infrastructure and a huge network of freight and passenger lines connecting it to key trade routes worldwide.
The port’s annual cargo traffic will reach 43.5 million TEUs at the end of 2020, making it the world’s busiest container terminal.
The port has 125 wharves and 19 terminal facilities and can accommodate the world’s largest ships and carriers. Apart from the five major port sections, the port also has a cruise ship terminal with over 1 million passengers yearly. Shanghai port handles more than a quarter of China’s trade; therefore, it’s known as the first member of the list of top sea ports worldwide.
You can read the latest news about the Shanghai port here.
2. The Singapore Port
This port is considered one of the world’s top sea ports.
Singapore Port has played an essential role in reshaping Singapore’s economic structure. In 2019, the port handled around 30.9 million Twenty-Feet Equivalent Units (TEUs), making it the largest hub for shipping purposes.
The Singapore port is the busiest container shipping facility in the world, connecting marine trade with 600 seaports in over 100 countries. Singapore also has one of the world’s largest bunkering facilities.
It has 84 berths across six major port terminals. The port handled 37.5 million TEUs annually by 2020. The port currently gets 130,000 vessel calls every year.
Keppel, Pasir Panjang, Jurong, and other ports have multipurpose terminals. Tuas is also building a fully automated port with a 65 million TEU capacity, which is projected to be finished by 2040. It will be the world’s largest completely automated terminal facility when completed.
The port’s terminals can handle a wide range of bulk, non-containerized, liquid, and containerized goods. Oil, petroleum products, natural gas, cement, vehicles, and machinery are all handled correctly. Jurong is home to a major terminal that handles steel, cement, and copper slag. The Pasir Panjang Terminal can handle the largest container ships, with over 12,000 TEUs.
The port provides domestic and international clients services for ship maintenance and repairs, cold storage facilities, container cleaning, and container tracking.
3. The Shenzhen Port
The third member of this list of top sea ports is Shenzhen Port. The Shenzhen Port is a group of ports along the Shenzhen coast in Guangdong, China. It has five major terminals and is separated into two main eastern and western sectors. The port handled over 26.54 million TEUs in 2020, making it one of the busiest ports in the world.
The port offers 140 berths for various cargo and container ships. There are 51 wharves devoted to ships above 20,000 DWT and 19 facilities dedicated to container handling. The port also offers 18 passenger berths.
Shenzhen’s port serves industrial units and businesses along the Pearl River’s delta. In 2019, it ranked third with a total trade volume of 24 million TEU.
The port is recognized as China‘s second busiest shipping port, particularly in the southern section of the mainland.
The western port area includes the Chiwan and Shekou container terminals, while the eastern port sector includes Yantian port, Shenzhen’s busiest container terminal.
The port is connected to 300 major ports in over 100 countries. Around 40 major shipping companies with offices at the port have launched over 120 container lines.
4. The Ningbo Port
The Ningbo Port is located near Hangzhou Bay on the East China Sea coast in the province of Zhejiang. It is the world’s third busiest port, with almost 28.72 million TEUs handled in 2020. The port provides connections to 600 ports in 150 countries.
Bulk, breakbulk, crude oil, product oil, liquid chemicals, cereals, coal, and equipment are the primary cargoes handled at this port.
The port has 19 port areas and about 300 operational berths that accommodate vessels weighing more than 50,000 DWT. Its three largest facilities are the crude oil handling facility, international container terminal, and specialized terminal for processing liquid chemicals. These facilities handle the world’s largest ships and carriers, which weigh more than 200,000 tonnes.
Because of its high-tech logistics system and world-class container handling facilities, the Port of Ningbo has earned a reputation for offering speedy and dependable services to its clients. There are offices of the world’s leading shipping companies in this port.
5. The Guangzhou Port
Guangzhou Port is one of China’s top sea ports, with connections to more than 300 ports in more than 100 countries. Guangzhou Port Group Ltd owns the facility, which handled over 23.19 million TEUs in 2020, making it the world’s fifth-busiest container terminal.
It has been used for many years and is strategically placed at the intersection of three major rivers. The port is an important transportation center for the region’s businesses, located in regions like Guanxi, Sichuan, and Hubei.
The port has 49 wharves and handles various agricultural and industrial products, including oil, coal, fertilizers, chemicals, cereals, grains, metal ores, cars, etc.
Nansha port, which is part of the major Guangzhou port region, handles more than 75% of all cargo traffic. Nansha port has approximately 20 berths and more than 60 specialized cranes. It is also capable of accommodating the largest cargo ships.
6. The Busan Port
Busan port, known as the sixth top sea ports, is located near the tip of the Korean peninsula and is owned by the South Korean government. The port is divided into two sections, with international trade and business taking place in the eastern port sector and fisheries dominating the western port area.
The main port in South Korea, Busan, processed more than 21.82 million TEU in 2020.
It is a vital sea gateway for the country, connecting it to the Pacific and important Asian ports. In containers, it transports fertilizer, pesticides, meat, metal, leather, oils, iron ore, wood, natural sand, sugars, petroleum, and coal.
In 2019, it handled over 19.9 million TEUs, making it a serious competitor to its Asian peers in the years ahead.
The Busan port, one of the top sea ports, consists of four port areas, a passenger terminal, and six container processing facilities.
The port of Busan handles more than 30% of the country’s marine freight. It handles almost 90% of the country’s containerized commodities and more than half of the fisheries sector’s output. Every 24 hours, more than 120 cargo ships pass through the port.
7. The Qingdao Port
Qingdao Port, the seventh member in this list of top sea ports, is in the Chinese province of Shandong. It is a significant Asian port and a center of international trade in the West Pacific area, having been opened in the late 18th century. The port of Qingdao handled more than 22 million TEUs in 2020.
The port area consists of four main ports: Qianwan, Dagang, Huangdao, and Dongjiakou.
The Dagang port has 18 active berths for goods such as grains, steel products, aluminum oxide, and other standard cargoes.
The port at Qianwan includes 40 berths for processing containers, metals, coal, and wood, among other things. Huangdao port is an oil terminal with 11 oil berths that can accommodate large oil tankers. It also deals with crude oil, petroleum, and its byproducts. There are 17 berths at the Dongjiakou port for solid and bulk goods.
The port has world-class cargo handling facilities and can handle the largest cargo ships, iron ore vessels, and oil tankers; since it’s one of the top sea ports worldwide. The port has a modern operating system and largely automated container terminals.
8. The Hong Kong Port
The Hong Kong port is a significant ocean trading hub in Southeast Asia, located on the Kowloon Peninsula, and it’s one of the top sea ports in Asia and around the world. It is one of the busiest and top sea ports globally, with more than 20.07 million TEUs handled in 2020. The Hong Kong Port handles over 89 percent of Hong Kong’s total cargo traffic.
Its reputation as one of the top sea ports goes back to 1987 when it was ranked as the busiest port in the world. It handled more than 19.7 million TEUs in 2019.
The port area is almost 279 hectares and has 24 berths with a total length of 7694 meters. The port’s yearly capacity is around 450,000 boats. The port also includes nine container handling facilities with a total capacity of around 19 million TEUs per year. There are several container yards and freight stations at the port.
It has excellent port facilities, including shipyards that repair and maintain boats of various types and sizes. On the island of Ting Yi, there are three floating dry docks. Smaller shipbuilding operations in the harbor manufacture specialized ships for foreign markets, such as patrol vessels and recreational boats.
9. The Tianjin Port
Tianjin Port is one of the largest and top sea ports in North China and a vital logistics and shipping gateway. It is also Beijing’s maritime entrance, which is located on the western coast of Bohai Bay. China’s largest artificial port facility and the world’s ninth-busiest port. In 2020, it handled over 18.35 million TEUs of cargo and had trade linkages with over 600 ports in 190 countries via more than 120 container lines.
The 9th member in the list of top sea ports, the Tianjin port spans more than 120 square kilometers, with a 34-kilometer wharf and more than 170 cargo ship berths. It includes two passenger terminals and nine port sections, with three handling most commercial operations: Beijiang, Nanjiang, and Dongjiang. There are additionally six main anchoring places and two temporary anchorage areas.
10. The Klang Port
Klang Port, the tenth member in this list of top sea ports, is Malaysia’s busiest seaport and the world’s ninth busiest, is located on the western coast of Selangor, on the river Kelang. It is an essential port for the country and is part of the metropolitan area of Kelang city. In 2020, the port handled more than 13.24 million TEUs.
It has existed since 1901 and is located near the pesticide and rubber shoe companies.
The port has 53 operating berths, 24 container handling facilities, 11 heavy cargo berths, nine liquid bulk berths, and seven dry cargo berths. It also has 220,000 square meters of storage space and four container ports with an annual capacity of 8.5 million TEUs. There are two passenger terminals, one for cruise ships and one for ferries.
The Final Word
These ports have consistently ranked among the top sea ports in the world. In general, Asian top sea ports strong presence on this list reflects the reality that Asian countries are establishing and showing their mastery in a previously dominated sector by Western businesses and operators. DFreight can help you choose the best sea port to start your cargo shipping process. You can contact us to find out more about appropriate ports for your shipments.
What are the world’s busiest seaports?
The world’s busiest seaports are in Asia, with the Port of Shanghai taking the top spot. Other busy seaports include the Port of Singapore, the Port of Hong Kong, the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, and the Port of Busan.
What is the largest seaport in the world?
The largest seaport in the world is the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which covers an area of over 12,000 hectares.
What are the most popular seaports for tanker ships?
The most popular seaports for tanker ships are in the Middle East, with the Port of Fujairah taking the top spot. Other popular tanker seaports include the Port of Bahrain, the Port of Khor Fakkan, and the Port of Jubail.