Shanghai ports rank third in international shipping

Huang Yixuan
Shanghai has secured its position as the third-ranked global shipping hub for the fourth consecutive year. The city is growing in pace, close behind Singapore and London.
Huang Yixuan

Shanghai continues on its path towards becoming an international shipping center, as it secures its position as the third-ranked global shipping hub for the fourth consecutive year, according to the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Center Development Index 2023.

The index, released on Friday at the North Bund Forum on international shipping and aviation, reveals a new pattern in the shipping industry, with Singapore, London, and Shanghai leading the way.

Over the past decade, Shanghai has undergone a transformative journey, evolving from a solitary player to a cooperative force within the coastal port group. The city's shipping industry, once struggling with its soft power, has now successfully established the "Shanghai Shipping" service brand. Also, the city has taken significant steps towards environmental sustainability through accelerated green initiatives, low-carbon practices and digital transformations.

The Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Center Development Index was first launched in 2014 by the China Economic Information Service, a subsidiary of Xinhua, in collaboration with the Baltic Exchange. It has once again ranked the 43 top port cities and maritime centre around the world, using a variety of metrics.

The latest index results indicated the stability of the top 10 cities in terms of comprehensive strength of global shipping centers. Singapore remained in the lead, followed by London and Shanghai. Hong Kong and Dubai secured the fourth and 5th spots respectively, while Rotterdam, Hamburg, Piraeus-Athens, Ningbo-Zhoushan, and New York-New Jersey completed the rest of the top 10. Notably, Piraeus-Athens and Ningbo-Zhoushan have both advanced in their rankings, with New York-New Jersey falling to 10th place.

A shift of international resources

The index reflected a significant shift in the gathering and allocation of international shipping resources, with a gradual eastward movement along the flow of goods, trade and capital. Asia-Pacific regional shipping centers continued to strengthen their capacity as the world's economic and trade situation evolves, the report showed.

Shanghai's rise as a global shipping center was evident with its consistent ranking among the top three cities for four years in a row. In 2023, Shanghai stood firm in third place, joined by five other Chinese cities in the top 20. Compared with a decade ago, all Chinese cities in the ranking have seen substantial improvements.

The Shanghai Port, renowned for its exceptional container throughput, has led the way for thirteen consecutive years, the report showed. Additionally, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's Liner Shipping Connectivity Index, Shanghai Port has maintained its position as the top global port for twelve consecutive years.

Experts attributed Shanghai's success as a shipping hub to various factors, including its status as the leader and hub of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The city benefits from having the world's largest container port, a business-friendly policy environment, and a highly educated population, said Xu Chen, executive editor of the report.

The report also highlighted the advantages of Ningbo-Zhoushan which boasts excellent port hardware conditions and business scale, as well as the remarkable progress in overall competitiveness of Qingdao Port.

Special Reports