Top 10 Global Shipping Container Ports 2023

Top 10 Global Shipping Container Ports

Dubai’s Jebel Ali port has made a significant comeback, reclaiming its position among the top 10 global container ports, surpassing both Rotterdam and Hong Kong. This resurgence underscores the economic challenges faced by European ports.

Source: Alphaliner


In 2023, Dubai overtook its competitors to secure its place in the top 10, a position it previously held in 2018. Alphaliner’s predictions were realized as Dubai surpassed Hong Kong, which has experienced a continuous decline in container volume for the past seven years, losing a third of its traffic over the last decade. Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, also fell behind Dubai, experiencing a 7% decrease in container volumes in 2023, adding to the 6% decline witnessed in 2022. The loss of Russian cargo and a decline in European consumer demand have contributed to Rotterdam’s challenges, with volumes now 9% below 2019 levels.

Antwerp-Bruges and Hamburg, Europe’s second and third largest ports respectively, also faced a 7% decrease in volumes. Despite this, Antwerp’s merger with Zeebrugge has enabled it to maintain volumes above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, Dubai’s throughput saw a modest growth of 3.6% in 2023, reaching 14.47 million twenty-foot equivalent units (Mteu), allowing it to advance in the rankings.

China continues to dominate the global market, with its ports experiencing significant growth. Qingdao recorded the highest increase among major gateways worldwide, handling an estimated 30 Mteu in 2023. China’s grip on the market tightened, with its ports accounting for over half (51%) of the top 30 market throughput.

In 2023, two ports, Qinzhou in China and Cai Mep in Vietnam, entered the top 30, displacing Savannah and Manila. Mundra port in India climbed two places ahead of Colombo and Jakarta, solidifying its position as India’s leading port. Tanger Med in Morocco also made strides, overtaking Ho Chi Minh City and Hamburg, with volumes rising 80% since 2019.

However, not all ports saw growth. The port of New York/New Jersey experienced the largest decline, with throughput dropping nearly 18% year-on-year, slipping four places down the rankings to 21st position. Despite challenges, the pandemic has had a net positive impact on some U.S. ports, with volumes remaining higher than 2019 levels for Long Beach and New York/New Jersey. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Savannah also witnessed declines in throughput in 2023.

Source: Alphaliner

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