Top 10 Global Ports
There are various factors which can be used to assess how ‘busy’ or ‘large’ a port is; this could be a reference to the area covered by the port, the amount of traffic handled or the gross tonnage processed. With no standardised method of analysing traffic, various nations around the world claim to boast the largest port in the world.
This top ten list of global ports has been made in consideration of size, gross tonnage handled and the role that these ports play in the import and export capabilities of the nations they serve and in international imports and exports.
10. Port of Felixstowe, United Kingdom
Though small in comparison to ports around the globe and covering a mere 1.4 square miles, the Port of Felixstowe on the Suffolk coast accounts for almost half of Britain’s container trade. According to the Journal of Commerce, this North Sea port processes more than 3.4 million TEU’s (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) every year and connects the UK to more than 360 other global ports.
9. Port of Hamburg, Germany
Germany’s ‘Gateway to the World’ is the nation’s largest port and the third largest in Europe, behind Rotterdam and Antwerp.
In 2012, the gross tonnage of cargo processed by the port increased by 4.4 percent and reached 130.9 million tons, as documented by the Port of Hamburg Authority.
8. Port Hedland, Western Australia
The naturally deep anchorage of this harbour has led to Port Hedland becoming one of the highest tonnage ports in all of Oceania.
In 2011, the port handled in excess of 199 million tons of cargo, more than any port in the history of Australia. Exports for Port Hedland include iron ore, of which the port is one of the largest handlers in the world.
7. Port of Jebel Ali, United Arabs Emirates
Located in the city of Dubai, the Port of Jebel Ali is the largest man-made harbour in the world and the Middle East’s biggest port.
With links to the Dubai International Airport Cargo Village, this port is the epicentre for international imports and exports in the Middle East, and boasts a transit time between ship and plane of just four fours, a time period unrivalled by any other port.
6. Port of South Louisiana, United States
As you might expect, the largest port in the United States falls along the mammoth expanse of the great Mississippi River.
As well as occupying a top spot in the world largest shipping ports and the largest in America, the Port of South Louisiana is also one of the biggest bulk cargo ports in the world. As recorded in the First Quarter 2013 Tonnage Report, the Port of South Louisiana accounts for up 70 percent of the nation’s grain exports, including wheat, soy and corn.
5. Port of Hong Kong, China
Like many of the world’s largest and busiest ports, Hong Kong in the South China Sea is a natural harbour and accounts for the cities strong presence in the world market.
The Port of Hong Kong is dominated by container traffic and for a proportion of the late 20th Century, was one world’s busiest container ports serving South-East Asia.
4. Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia
One of the fastest growing ports in the world, Tanjung Pelepas on the mouth of Pulai River is expected to handle more 10.4 TEU’s by the end of 2014, a mere 14 years since the port commenced operations.
If the expansion of the port continues at its present rate, Tanjung Pelepas could overtake the likes of Singapore in terms of container traffic. Maersk Sealand and the Evergreen Marine Corporation, the two largest shipping companies in the world, have already moved operations from Singapore to this Malaysian port.
3. Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands
For the larger part of the 20th century, the Netherlands was able to boast the busiest port in the world, in terms of cargo tonnage. That is, until the 41 square mile Port of Rotterdam was overtaken by counterparts in the Far East.
Rotterdam still holds the top position of the busiest port in Europe. And with a draft of 74 feet, the Port of Rotterdam occupies a unique position as one of only two ports in the world that can accommodate the world’s largest cargo ship, the MS Berge Stahl.
2. Port of Singapore, Singapore
The origins of this port date back to the 13th century, when Singapore was a significant location for the exportation of cotton, glassware and ceramics for the international market.
Nowadays, the port handles more than 420 million tons of cargo every year and is ranked first in terms of containerised traffic. It also handles almost a quarter of the world’s shipping containers and connects Singapore to more than 600 global ports.
1. Port of Shanghai, China
It may only be by a small margin, considering that the Port of Singapore handles approximately half a million TUE’s less than this Chinese port, but the Port of Shanghai maintains its status as largest and busiest port in the world.
Though the difference in cargo capabilities of Singapore and Shanghai may seem relatively small, Shanghai’s increasing expansion indicates that the future will increase the gap between these two global ports, with Shanghai leading the way.
According to ShipTechnology.com, in 2012 the Port of Shanghai handled over 736 million tons of cargo, ranking it the busiest in the world.
At the heart of Chinese commerce, the Port of Shanghai is responsible for a quarter of the country’s foreign trade. Occupying a geographically crucial space at the head of three of China’s rivers – the Yangtze, Huangpu and Qiatang – Shanghai is China’s gateway to the East China Sea and the international market.
Top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group
The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.
9. Korean Air
Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.
8. Air France-KLM
The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.
7. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.
6. Lufthansa Group
Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.
5. Cathay Group
The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.
4. DHL Express Group
Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.
3. UPS Airlines
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.
2. Emirates Skycargo
The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.
1. FedEx Express
Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.