The World's Busiest Ports - Forbes.com
In Pictures: The World's Busiest Ports - - Forbes.com
The World's Busiest Ports
Global consumer demand dictates the flow of container shipping, so if you want to know where trade is heaviest, follow the container. Six of the world's 10 busiest ports are in China--measured in terms of cargo shipped in standard containers, or TEUs (20-foot equivalent units)--according to data provided by ci-online. Just two ports rival the amount of traffic flowing through Asia's busiest coastal cities--and neither are in the U.S.
The world's busiest port handled more than 25.8 million TEUs last year. Although the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore reported a 10% jump in March from a year earlier, the 2.4 million containers shipped that month is still below the port's highest monthly record of 2.7 million TEUs reached in July 2008. The port's main operator, PSA International, is state-owned and runs five of the port's six terminals.
China became the world's biggest exporter after surpassing Germany last year, and Shanghai was its busiest port with just over 25 million TEUs passing through its facilities. The country's biggest port operator, Shanghai International Port Group, posted a profit of 1 billion yuan ($149 million) in the first quarter after its container throughput rose 15.5%.
Hong Kong, China
Controlled by the billionaire Li Ka-shing, Hutchison Port Holdings is the world's largest container port operator with terminals in six of the nine busiest ports around the world. In Hong Kong, it operates 12 berths through its subsidiary and another two through a joint venture with COSCO. Last year Hong Kong handled almost 21 million containers.
The second-busiest port on the mainland has been expanding its market share in southern China at the expense of Hong Kong due to its proximity to the factories along the Pearl River Delta. China Merchants Holdings is the largest container port operator in Shenzhen, which processed over 18 million containers in 2009.
Busan, South Korea
South Korea's busiest port handled almost 12 million containers last year. Hanjin Shipping, the country's largest container line, expects to return to profitability this year. The company's CEO, Kim Young Min, is the current chairman of the 12-member Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a shipping cartel that seeks to raise rates through cooperation rather than competition.