There has been a remarkable increase in the volumes handled by ports since 2005. We are only comparing the Top 10 Largest Container Ports in this infographic. There are multiple factors contributing to overall volume increase as well as to the increase in volumes in specific ports.
The top ports are strategic locations for international trade routes and often have an infrastructure to accommodate larger vessels and volumes. Technological advancements have enabled ports to handle more cargo faster.
We have all witnessed the growth of e-commerce over the past few years. This had a significant impact on the shipping and logistics industry; the demand for faster and more reliable delivery of a wide range of goods has led to an increase in shipping volume, particularly in containerized cargo, and created ports’ congestion that made the news for months in the past years.
In 2005, only two Chinese ports made it to the Top 10 Largest Container Ports, while for the past 3 years, this top has seen 4 additional ports making it to the Top.
In the article titled “Disruptive 2022 does little to upset global container port rankings”, published this August, the author states:
“A slowdown in global container volumes in the second half of 2022 did little to roil the pecking order of the world’s largest container ports. But the drop from pandemic demand peaks did create two nearly identical segments in the list: ports that grew volumes in 2022 and those that saw throughput fall”
According to the Journal of Commerce’s Top 50 Container Port rankings, all 14 Chinese ports listed in this top saw an increase in volumes in 2022 that are associated with high export volumes in the first quarter of 2022 and intra-Asia and intra-China after that. In the same article, there is a reference to a blog post published in July 2023, where S&P Global Market Intelligence trade analysts Agnieszka Maciejewska and Anton Alifandi wrote that “China is getting closer to trading partners in Asia to offset any loss of direct volumes to Western nations”.
The data available for the first 10 months of 2023 suggests that the volumes handled by the Chinese ports have continued to rise at 8.5% year-on-year.
While we don’t expect major changes to the arrangements in the Top 10 Largest container ports in 2023, it will be interesting to see how the trading routes shifts measure up in TEU volumes.