The vast majority of the world’s freight is moved not by land or by air but by sea. This is a massive logistical undertaking and is one of the most remarkable aspects of modern-day commerce. Each day, thousands of ships are moving to and fro across the globe to deliver the products and parts we need and Equator Worldwide are the freight experts who can help you move it!

The UK alone handles some 483 million tonnes of freight a year with nearly 24 million different container units transported to different parts of the world. It’s no wonder that ports are some of the busiest locations in the world with ships coming in and out almost by the hour. But which ports are the busiest in the world?

Here we look at five that play an important role in the transportation of global freight and handle a remarkable amount of goods each day.

  1. Rotterdam

This is the biggest port in Europe, covering some 40 square miles and with nearly 30,000 ships arriving and departing each year. It handles nearly as much freight as the whole of the UK and sees more than 15 million containers pass through its terminals annually.

Up until 2004, Rotterdam was the biggest port in the world but was then overtaken by Singapore and then Shanghai.

  1. Tianjin

You’ve probably never heard of this port, but it sends ships to almost 200 different countries around the world. Covering 121 square kilometres, it’s a massive piece of infrastructure that handles some 500 million tonnes of cargo each year with more than 13 million containers.

Located in the north of China, it became an important transportation hub back in 1860 following the Second Opium War.

  1. Busan

Asia figures highly when it comes to the busiest ports in the world and a lot of that has to do with China being a major global manufacturer. Busan, in South Korea, has grown tremendously over the last 20 years and in 2017 handled more than 20 million containers.

It is fifth on the list of busiest container ports in the world and 83% of the country’s exports go through this one location.

  1. Shanghai

It’s no surprise that China has two ports in the top five when it comes to volume and reach. Shanghai took over from Singapore as the biggest port in the world back in 2010 and it now handles as many as 32 million containers in a year.

Facing the East China Sea, it has grown considerably since it was allowed economic reform by the communist party back in 1991. In 2014 alone it transported some 755 million tonnes of freight.

  1. Singapore

Still one of the biggest ports in the world, Singapore certainly qualifies for being the busiest alongside Shanghai. Location is what makes this port such as success and it sees some 130,000 vessels dock, load and unload each year. It connects to 123 countries around the globe and can hold some 35,000 containers at any one time.

In 2005, it handled some 1.5 billion tonnes of goods and handles 23 million containers on an annual basis.