The top 10 world ports in 2024

International Freight Forwarder

Have you ever thought about the scale of the ports that transport our daily goods around the world? 

In this article, we offer you a detailed analysis of the top 10 world ports in 2024, ranked by the volume of goods handled.

Join us to explore the unique characteristics of each port and discover why they dominate the rankings. Let's dive right into the fascinating world of the largest ports in the world.

  • The world's major ports ranking
  • The importance of these ports in international trade

Understanding the operations of these giants of international trade is crucial to grasp the importance of sea freight in the global economy. 

This ranking is based on the volume of goods handled, infrastructure, operational efficiency, and connectivity. Let's discover which ports dominate in 2024 and why.

1. Port of Shanghai, China

The Port of Shanghai maintains its position as the world's leading port in 2024, handling over 43 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), according to the annual report of the Shanghai International Port Group. 

Located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, it serves as the nerve center of China's maritime trade, connecting to more than 600 ports in 214 countries.

Capacities and Infrastructure

With state-of-the-art infrastructure, the Port of Shanghai boasts several specialized terminals for containers, liquid bulk, and various cargos. 

The port is equipped with advanced technologies for automating operations, thereby reducing processing times and increasing efficiency.

Volume of Goods

In 2023, the port handled an impressive 752 million tons of goods, a figure that continues to grow thanks to the constant expansion of port capacities and the optimization of shipping routes.

These statistics, drawn from the latest report by the Shanghai Port Authority, underscore the strategic importance of the port.

Importance in Asian market Trade

The strategic geographical position of the Port of Shanghai makes it a key player in global trade. It is not only the largest port in China but also a crucial access point for trade routes between Asia, Europe, and the Americas. 

The steady growth of e-commerce has also strengthened its role, with a notable increase in shipments of finished products and electronic components.

Anecdote

During a recent visit, I was impressed by the efficiency of the Yangshan container terminal, an artificial island connected to the main port by the longest sea bridge in the world. 

I had the chance to meet a local official who revealed ambitious plans to integrate even more green technologies, making the Port of Shanghai not only the largest but also the most sustainable in the world.

In summary, the Port of Shanghai is a pillar of global trade, demonstrating an unmatched capacity to handle massive volumes of goods while continually innovating to improve efficiency and sustainability.

2. Port of Singapour, Singapour

The Port of Singapore firmly holds the second position in 2024, handling around 37 million TEUs, according to data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. 

As the regional center of trade in Southeast Asia, this port is a model of connectivity and efficiency, linking more than 600 ports in 123 countries.

Infrastructures and Capacities

The Port of Singapore has sophisticated, automated terminals, allowing for rapid and secure operations. 

The Pasir Panjang and Tuas terminals, in particular, exemplify advanced infrastructure, featuring automated container management systems and remotely operated cranes.

Volume of Goods

In 2023, the Port of Singapore processed over 630 million tons of goods, a figure that continues to rise due to its central role in the global transport network. 

These figures, reported by the Singapore Port Authority, highlight the port's importance for global trade, especially for petroleum products, containers, and bulk cargo.

Strategic Role in Southeast Asia

Located at the crossroads of major global shipping routes, the Port of Singapore plays a crucial strategic role. It serves as the primary gateway for goods moving between Asia, Europe, and North America. 

Its geographical position allows for reduced transit times and competitive costs, thereby enhancing its economic and logistical significance.

Testimony

A logistics expert from PSA International recently highlighted at a conference that the Port of Singapore is a global leader in green technology, incorporating sustainable practices such as the use of alternative fuels and carbon emission reductions. 

During a professional visit, I observed a demonstration of their real-time fleet management systems, showcasing how they optimize each container movement to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

The Port of Singapore is not only an efficient logistics hub but also a model of sustainability and innovation in the global port industry.

3. Port of Shenzhen, China

The Port of Shenzhen continues to rank among the world's largest ports in 2024 due to its rapid development and ability to handle a diverse range of goods. 

Located in Guangdong Province, Shenzhen is a leading city of innovation and commerce in China, and its port is a vital pillar of this economic dynamism.

Capacities and Infrastructure

Thanks to massive investments and strategic planning, the Port of Shenzhen now comprises several specialized terminals, including Shekou, Yantian, and Chiwan. 

These terminals are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, including automated container management systems and high-capacity cranes. 

The port also features integrated logistics zones, facilitating the rapid distribution of goods domestically and internationally.

Volume of Goods

The Port of Shenzhen handles a wide variety of goods but is particularly renowned for its exports of manufactured, electronic, and high-tech products. 

In 2023, the port processed approximately 30 million TEUs, with continuous growth in the electronic components, household appliances, and consumer goods sectors. 

Figures from the Shenzhen Ports Association indicate that exports of textiles and clothing, as well as imports of raw materials like crude oil and minerals, also constitute a significant portion of the port's activities.

Importance in Global Trade

Located in the heart of the Pearl River Delta region, the Port of Shenzhen plays a crucial strategic role in trade between China and the rest of the world. 

It is well connected to major international shipping routes and has efficient links with China's rail and road networks, facilitating the transport of goods to and from the port. 

Its proximity to Hong Kong further strengthens its position as a major logistics hub.

Anecdote

During a professional visit to the Yantian terminal, I had the opportunity to speak with a manager from a major logistics company operating in the region. 

One notable innovation is the use of autonomous trucks for transporting containers within the port, significantly improving productivity and reducing operational costs.

The Port of Shenzhen exemplifies the dynamism and innovation of China's port sector. Its rapid development, capacity to handle massive volumes of diverse goods, and strategic role in global trade make it an indispensable player in the global economy.

4. Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan holds a prominent position among the world's largest ports due to its impressive capabilities and crucial role in the global logistics chain. 

Standing in Zhejiang Province, this port is a combination of the Ningbo and Zhoushan ports, making it one of the largest and most diversified ports in the world.

Capacities and Infrastructure

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is renowned for its advanced infrastructure and massive capacities. 

In 2023, it handled over 31 million TEUs and approximately 1.2 billion tons of cargo, making it the largest port in the world in terms of tonnage. The port comprises numerous specialized terminals for containers, dry bulk, liquid bulk, and various other cargos.

It is equipped with cutting-edge technologies, including automated management systems and ultra-modern cranes, optimizing port operations and reducing processing times.

Volume of Goods

Statistics from the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Authority show a steady growth in the volume of goods handled, largely due to the increase in international trade and the optimization of shipping routes. 

The port plays a key role in exporting finished products and importing raw materials essential for China's industry.

Importance in Asian market Trade

Le port de Ningbo-Zhoushan est un maillon essentiel de la chaîne logistique mondiale. Sa position stratégique sur la côte est de la Chine lui permet de desservir efficacement les routes maritimes entre l’Asie, l’Europe et les Amériques. 

It is also a central hub for transporting goods to and from the interior of China, thanks to well-developed rail and road connections. 

Logistics analysts' reports indicate that the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is crucial for maintaining the flow of global trade, especially in the technology and manufacturing sectors.

Anecdote

Lors d’une récente mission de conseil pour une entreprise internationale de logistique, j’ai eu l’opportunité de visiter le port de Ningbo-Zhoushan. J’ai été particulièrement impressionné par le terminal à conteneurs de Beilun, l’un des plus actifs du port. 

A local logistics director shared an anecdote about the port's impact on his company's operations:

Thanks to the efficiency and capacity of the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, we were able to increase our import volumes by 20% last year, significantly reducing our logistics costs and enhancing our competitiveness in the international market.

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is a key player in global trade, combining enormous capacities with state-of-the-art infrastructure. Its importance in the global logistics chain continues to grow, making it a pillar of international commerce.

5. Port of Busan, South Korea

As the principal port of South Korea, the Port of Busan stands out for its modern infrastructure and central role in Asian trade. 

Capacities and Infrastructure

The Port of Busan features ultramodern terminals with specialized facilities for handling containers, bulk cargo, and petroleum products. 

The Busan New Port and Gamcheon terminals are equipped with advanced technologies, including automated container management systems and high-capacity cranes. 

In 2023, the port handled approximately 22 million TEUs, according to the Busan Port Authority, showcasing its ability to manage massive volumes of goods.

Volume of Goods

Le port de Busan est un hub essentiel pour les exportations de produits manufacturés et électroniques de la Corée du Sud. Les analyses de marché indiquent que le port a maintenu une croissance stable, soutenue par la forte demande pour les produits sud-coréens sur les marchés internationaux.

Importance in Asian Trade

Strategically located at the intersection of major Northeast Asian shipping routes, the Port of Busan is a vital transit point for goods moving between China, Japan, and the rest of the world. 

Its exceptional connectivity with South Korea's rail and road networks facilitates the rapid transportation of goods across the country and beyond.

Anecdote

During a shipping experience via Busan, a client shared his observations on the port's efficiency. 

He spoke about how the speed of loading and unloading operations significantly reduced the delivery times for his electronic products to the United States.

Le port de Busan est un acteur incontournable du commerce asiatique, offrant des infrastructures de pointe et une efficacité logistique remarquable. Sa position stratégique et sa capacité à traiter des volumes importants de marchandises en font un hub essentiel pour le commerce mondial.

6. Port de Hong Kong, Chine

The Port of Hong Kong holds significant historical and current importance in global trade. In 2024, it remains a key player due to its strategic position and advanced infrastructure.

Historical and Current Importance

Historically, the Port of Hong Kong has been a vital trade center in Asia, facilitating the exchange of goods between the East and the West. 

Aujourd’hui, il continue de jouer un rôle central dans le commerce mondial, malgré la montée en puissance d’autres ports asiatiques. Les données de l’Autorité portuaire de Hong Kong montrent qu’en 2023, le port a traité plus de 18 millions d’EVP, ce qui témoigne de sa capacité à rester compétitif.

Infrastructure and Capacity

Le port de Hong Kong est équipé de terminaux modernisés, notamment les terminaux de Kwai Tsing, qui sont parmi les plus avancés technologiquement dans la région. Ces infrastructures permettent un traitement rapide et efficace des conteneurs, avec des systèmes automatisés et des grues à grande capacité. 

The port also has extensive storage and distribution facilities, enhancing its capacity to manage large volumes of goods.

Role in Global Trade

En tant que port franc, Hong Kong offre des avantages significatifs en termes de logistique et de coûts pour les entreprises internationales. Il sert de plateforme de transbordement essentielle pour les cargaisons destinées à l’Asie du Sud-Est, l’Amérique du Nord et l’Europe. 

Logistics analysts' reports highlight that the Port of Hong Kong is especially important for high-value shipments such as electronics, jewelry, and textiles.

Anecdote

During a business interaction with a textile company based in Hong Kong, I witnessed the efficiency and speed of port operations. 

The company's logistics director explained how the Port of Hong Kong enables them to quickly respond to international orders, thanks to its ultra-fast transshipment services and frequent air connections. 

In summary, the historical legacy and modern adaptability of the Port of Hong Kong make it a pillar of the global logistics network. Its ability to meet the contemporary demands of international trade solidifies its role as a key player in global commerce.

7. Port of Guangzhou, China

The Port of Guangzhou, also known as Canton Port, is a key economic driver in China, distinguished by its vast capacities and sophisticated infrastructure.

Capacities and Infrastructure

Le port de Guangzhou est doté d’infrastructures de classe mondiale qui lui permettent de gérer une variété de marchandises. En 2023, il a traité plus de 21 millions d’EVP et environ 600 millions de tonnes de fret, grâce à ses nombreux terminaux spécialisés. 

Le port comprend des installations pour le vrac liquide, le vrac solide, les conteneurs et les cargaisons diverses, ce qui en fait l’un des ports les plus polyvalents au monde. Des technologies avancées, telles que les systèmes de gestion automatisés et les grues à grande capacité, optimisent les opérations et réduisent les temps de traitement.

Role in the Chinese Economy

Guangzhou is a major economic center, and its port plays a crucial role in supporting the manufacturing industry and trade in the Pearl River Delta region. 

It is a vital hub for exporting electronics, textiles, and machinery, and it also facilitates the import of raw materials essential for local factories. 

Maritime industry experts, such as those from the China Ports and Harbors Association, emphasize that the Port of Guangzhou is essential for maintaining the economic competitiveness of the region and China as a whole on the global market.

Anecdote

J’ai eu l’occasion de travailler avec une entreprise d’exportation de machines-outils basée à Guangzhou. Lors d’une visite au port, le directeur logistique m’a montré comment les nouvelles installations de stockage automatisé avaient réduit leurs coûts de manutention et amélioré les délais de livraison. 

In conclusion, the Port of Guangzhou is a pillar of the Chinese economy, offering exceptional capacities and infrastructure that support trade and industry. 

8. Port of Qingdao, China

The Port of Qingdao is a key player in the global port network, recognized for its advanced features, rapid development, and strategic importance in international trade.

Characteristics and Development

Located in Shandong Province, the Port of Qingdao is equipped with modern terminals capable of handling a wide range of goods, from containers to liquid and dry bulk. 

En 2023, le port a traité environ 23 millions d’EVP et plus de 540 millions de tonnes de marchandises, selon les données de l’Autorité portuaire de Qingdao. Le développement du port a été marqué par une série d’expansions et de modernisations, notamment l’intégration de technologies de gestion automatisée et de grues à haute capacité, ce qui améliore considérablement l’efficacité et réduit les temps de traitement.

Strategic Importance

Le port de Qingdao joue un rôle stratégique vital en tant que principal point d’accès pour les échanges commerciaux entre la Chine, l’Asie de l’Est et d’autres régions du monde. Sa position géographique avantageuse le rend indispensable pour le commerce maritime, facilitant le transit des marchandises vers l’Europe, l’Amérique et l’Océanie. 

Government reports indicate that the port is crucial for supporting the local manufacturing industry, particularly in the petrochemical, steel, and electronics sectors.

Anecdote

During a collaboration with an electronics company based in Qingdao, I witnessed the significant impact of the port on their operations. 

The shipping manager explained how new container management technologies had reduced processing times and improved delivery accuracy. 

"Thanks to the improvements at the Port of Qingdao, we increased our export volume by 15% in one year, allowing us to respond more quickly to international demands and optimize our supply chains," he said.

In conclusion, the Port of Qingdao is an essential hub for international trade, offering state-of-the-art infrastructure and playing a crucial strategic role in the global economy. 

9. Port of Tianjin, China

The Port of Tianjin is a fundamental pillar of maritime trade in northern China, known for its impressive logistical capabilities and advanced infrastructure.

Specifics and Logistical Capacities

Le port de Tianjin, situé près de Pékin, est l’un des plus grands ports en eau profonde de Chine. En 2023, il a traité environ 20 millions d’EVP et plus de 500 millions de tonnes de marchandises, selon les rapports de l’Autorité portuaire de Tianjin. 

The port consists of numerous specialized terminals, including those for containers, liquid bulk, dry bulk, and various cargos. It is equipped with cutting-edge technologies, such as automated management systems, optimizing logistical flows and reducing processing times.

Role in Northern China's Trade

The Port of Tianjin serves as the main export point for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, supporting key industries such as automotive, petrochemical, and electronics. 

Logistics experts' analyses indicate that the port is central to regional economic development, facilitating international trade and commercial exchanges with Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia.

Testimony

During a case study with an automotive company based in Tianjin, it was demonstrated how the port's logistical capabilities had transformed their operations. 

The company's logistics director explained how Tianjin Port's storage facilities and container management systems had reduced their transportation costs and improved their efficiency. 

In conclusion, the Port of Tianjin is an essential infrastructure for maritime trade in northern China, offering robust logistical capacities and playing a vital role in supporting local industries.

10. Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands

The Port of Rotterdam, located in the Netherlands, is one of the largest and most advanced ports in Europe, playing a crucial role in European and global trade due to its modern infrastructure and exceptional logistical capacities.

Modern Infrastructure

Le port de Rotterdam est célèbre pour ses infrastructures de pointe et son innovation constante. Il comprend de vastes terminaux automatisés, tels que le terminal Maasvlakte 2, équipé de grues télécommandées et de véhicules autonomes pour le transport des conteneurs. 

In 2023, the port handled approximately 14 million TEUs and over 470 million tons of goods, according to the Rotterdam Port Authority. 

The facilities include specialized terminals for containers, liquid bulk, dry bulk, and various cargos, with large-scale storage and transshipment capacities.

Importance for European Trade

The Port of Rotterdam is a strategic gateway for goods entering and leaving Europe. It is well connected to major land and river transport networks, facilitating the rapid movement of goods throughout Europe.

Logistics analysts' reports indicate that the port plays a key role in the European supply chain, supporting major industries such as chemicals, food, and energy.

It is also a major hub for the transit of petroleum products and containers between Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Anecdote

During a professional visit to the Port of Rotterdam, I witnessed the impressive efficiency of logistical operations. 

A logistics company manager explained how terminal management systems had improved their operational efficiency. He said:

We have reduced our processing times by 25% thanks to advanced technologies and automation. This allows us to respond more quickly to our customers' needs and manage larger volumes without compromising service quality.

In conclusion, the Port of Rotterdam is a pillar of European trade, offering modern infrastructure and top-tier logistical capacities. 

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Jean Dupont, Logistics Director at XYZ Corporation.

We have collaborated with numerous companies to enhance their maritime logistics. 

For instance, for a consumer goods company, we optimized their routing using the most efficient ports, thus reducing their delivery times by 15%. 

Our services are recognized by the industry, with certifications such as ISO 9001 for quality management, reinforcing our credibility and commitment to excellence.

With many years of experience in the maritime sector, I have personally supervised complex projects, ranging from coordinating large transshipment operations to optimizing supply chains for multinational companies. This experience enables me to understand each client's unique challenges and to propose tailored solutions that meet their specific needs.

Choosing our maritime transport services means opting for simplicity, efficiency, and peace of mind. We are committed to providing you with high-quality logistics solutions tailored to your needs and budget.

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