In August, I mapped the busiest air travel routes in the world; the surprising result was that none of them was in North America or Europe. In this post, I’ve generated a map of the 50 busiest shipping seaports in the world. The result is similar, although perhaps not as surprising. Seven of the top 10 are in China, and the other three are all in Asia. Eleventh place goes to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

As noted on the map, how busy a seaport is depends on how you measure it. Data are collected on the weight, volume, and value of shipments to and from the ports. Unfortunately, measurement methods aren’t always standardized, and as a result, not all comparisons are valid. Here I’ve used data based on twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), which represents a volume. It is important to note, however, that the volume measured is that of the containers being shipped, including both full and empty containers. Consequently, seaports that ship the most TEUs aren’t necessarily the most lucrative and may not ship the most cargo. TEUs should be thought of as an acceptable proxy for how busy a port is, simply because moving many containers, regardless of what they contain, takes a lot of effort.

The notable difference between the weight and volume of goods/containers shipped can be seen in the USA. In 2012, the Port of South Louisiana shipped only 464k TEUs; this was not even close to being in the top 100 globally. However, it shipped more cargo (by weight) than any other port in the USA. The Port of Los Angeles, which shipped over 8M TEUs in 2012 – good enough for 16th place globally – moved less than 70% as much cargo by weight as the Port of South Louisiana (175.2M metric tons vs 253.0M metric tons).

Data source: http://www.worldshipping.org/about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports

Posted on 11 November, 2013

56 notes

  1. coffeeandgunpowder reblogged this from vizual-statistix
  2. thunderheartwoman reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  3. chasingtheskies reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  4. tibaert reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  5. enemyswim reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  6. ryanzus11 reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  7. megaangelus reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  8. kidsdontliketoshare reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  9. florenceandthenightingale reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  10. emotionallybrilliant reblogged this from timecubed
  11. mobius-regress reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  12. o-mommie reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  13. lazy-native reblogged this from enchantingnagchampa
  14. enchantingnagchampa reblogged this from femmeviva
  15. timecubed reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  16. godsgodnogod reblogged this from femmeviva
  17. femmeviva reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  18. 10mikee10 reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  19. therealwalk reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  20. plures reblogged this from mapsontheweb and added:
    I wouldn’t be surprised by China, because of a) the population and b) the amount of exports that leave the country. ~K.
  21. fledermoyse reblogged this from mapsontheweb
  22. mapsontheweb reblogged this from vizual-statistix
  23. daring-greatly reblogged this from vizual-statistix
  24. jalbertbowdenii reblogged this from vizual-statistix