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Busiest Ports in the World

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Updated June 14, 2003
It is difficult to rank ports to determine which ones are the "busiest" because you can consider many factors - the weight of the goods, the number of ships, or the number of containers moved. Most port associations rank ports according to volume and number of TEUs.

TEU stands for "Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit;" containers are counted in 20-foot lengths. A twenty-foot container counts as one TEU while a forty-foot container counts as two TEUs.

Many ports are located at transhipment or break-of-bulk points. The top container ports are in Southeast Asia, Northwest Europe, and the West Coast of the United States. These locations reflect the patters of global trade between locations fo production and consumption.

Below are listings of the top ten ports by volume and TEUs, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. Four ports appear on both listings. Links lead you to English language web sites for the ports (when available).

Busiest Ports By Volume

1. Singapore
2. Rotterdam, Netherlands
3. South Louisiana, U.S.A.
4. Shanghai, China
5. Hong Kong, China
6. Houston, U.S.A
7. Chiba, Japan
8. Nagoya, Japan
9. Ulsan, South Korea
10. Kwangyang, South Korea

Busiest Ports By Containers (TEUs)

1. Hong Kong, China
2. Singapore
3. Pusan, South Korea
4. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
6. Shanghai, China
7. Los Angeles, U.S.A.
8. Long Beach, U.S.A.
9. Hamburg, Germany
10. Antwerp, Belgium

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