Why Ports Matter
Seaports are critical parts of the circulatory system of international commerce.
Approximately 90 percent of global trade is conducted by sea, according to the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations. Around 60 percent of sea trade is through container ships, which carry the durable, reusable, and versatile metal shipping containers that can also be transported by rail and truck.
A single container can be loaded onto a truck at a factory, transferred by rail or ship across long distances, and make its way to the end customer by truck again. In other words, they are conducive to multimodal shipping. Containers also protect goods from hazards and are economically efficient.
Most shipping containers are either twenty feet or forty feet in length. As a result, the volume of containers handled by ports is measured in TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units.
Most of the world’s top container ports are in China—a clear indicator of the country’s domination of the global merchandise trade.
Here are the world’s top ten container ports in 2015 by volume handled (in TEUs), according to the World Shipping Council: