This year’s AJOT’s Top 100 Containerports A–Z is notable for a number of reasons. It is clear from the numbers that volumes are up at ports around the world. It is also obvious that supply chain disruptions have hit the ports hard and containerships sitting at anchor awaiting berths have become a regular feature of port operations.

CMA CGM Group and PSA Corp. recently signed a MOU to jointly create and implement sustainable solutions relating to CMA CGM’s port and terminal handling activities in Singapore, through the joint venture partnership.
CMA CGM Group and PSA Corp. recently signed a MOU to jointly create and implement sustainable solutions relating to CMA CGM’s port and terminal handling activities in Singapore, through the joint venture partnership.

Despite the COVID lockdowns, interruptions in port operations, sanctions and tariffs, the recovery in port TEU throughputs has been remarkable. Consider the Port of Shanghai, the world’s largest at just over 47 million TEUs in 2021. A decade ago, Shanghai was also ranked the world’s number one port in TEUs at 31.7 million – the only port topping 30 million TEUs. By the numbers you wouldn’t guess that with COVID lockdowns and other supply chain disruptions, Shanghai added 3.53 million TEUs over 2020. To put the total in perspective, the 3.53 million added TEUs on their own would rank around 45th in the world in 2021. In 2022, the Port of Shanghai is running about two percent ahead of 2021, although the impacts of lockdowns and other supply chain disruptions could dampen the final numbers. For example, in April, reports had handling capacity down around 25% compared to normal operations. But should lockdowns and the supply chain soon return to normalcy, by 2023 Shanghai is likely to be a 50 million TEU port.

But will Shanghai be alone?

Rise of the Port of Singapore

The Port of Singapore, located on the eastern end of the Straits of Malacca, is positioned on one the greatest nautical crossroads in the world. Always a strategic port, Singapore has now emerged as the number two containerport in the world, courtesy of the recent rise in Southeast Asian industry and trade. The Port of Singapore handled 37.5 million TEUs in 2021, slightly up on 2020 36.87 million TEUs. Although Singapore is nearly 10 million TEUs behind Shanghai for the top spot, the Port could overtake Shanghai as the world’s largest containerport before the end of the decade. Singapore is currently in the midst of constructing the mega-terminal Tuas Mega Port on the far western side of the island. And the terminal’s completion is scheduled between 2025 and 2027. Tuas Mega is being built in four phases, and when completed will be the world’s largest container terminal, being able to handle nearly 65 million TEUs annually – a tally that might land Singapore in the top spot by 2027.

Another port that could hit 50 million TEUs within the decade is Ningbo-Zhoushan. The…

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