Shanghai has consistently topped rankings for the highest throughput of container ports since it overtook Singapore to claim the top spot in 2010 and the latest figures show China continuing to shift colossal numbers of containers, despite strong economic headwinds and a slowdown in growth.
“Mainland China can be a leading indicator with its sheer volume and consumer goods production concentration,” Marsha Salisbury, Research Editor at JOC commented.
In total, the largest ports in mainland China and Hong Kong handled 181.7 million TEU accounting for 40.9% of the 444.5 million TEU in throughput attributed to the top 50 ports in JOC’s analysis.
Asia ports tighten grip on rankings
It is not only Chinese ports that have attracted large scale volumes however as across the board the dominance of Asian ports in terms of TEU volume of containers handled strengthened last year.
“Nine of the top 10 ports, and 27 of the top 50, are in Asia,” Salisbury said. “The 27 Asian ports on the ranking matched the 4.9% growth rate of the top 50 ports overall.”
These 27 ports accounted for a staggering 71.2% of all container traffic in the top 50 ports according to JOC, equivalent to 316.5 million TEU.
There are signs however that a weakening in China’s macro-economic position combined with declines in the country’s stock markets have impacted growth in the port sector as average growth for 12 largest ports in mainland China and Hong Kong was just 4.1%, nearly 1% below the Asian average.
In the rest of the world the Middle East and Europe sported the next largest container ports with the United Arab Emirates Jebel Ali port handling 15.3 million TEU in 2014 to rank 9th and the Dutch port of Rotterdam handling 12.3 million TEU to rank 11th.
The U.S. struggled to make a significant impact on the global numbers with only 5 U.S. ports in the Top 50. Together these ports handled just 27.7 million TEU in 2014 which was less than second-ranked port Singapore handled on its own.