Transshipment plays a key role in global trade. It involves moving cargo from one vessel to another, typically when there’s no direct route between the export and import ports. For example, if a cargo container is shipped from the port of Seattle, Washington to the port of Busan, South Korea, and there is no direct service then the container most likely will be transferred from the original vessel to another vessel at a port of transshipment, which in this example could be Qingdao, China.

According to a report by the United Nations around 80% of the world’s goods are transported by ocean and transshipments help overcome many challenges in the supply chain.

Below are some of the reasons why a transshipment is necessary:

No direct route: As mentioned before the main reason for transshipment is when there is no direct link between the origin and final destination ports.

  • Port limitations to handling large vessels: Some ports cannot accommodate large ships, so cargo is transferred at a transshipment port into a smaller vessel to bring the cargo to the final destination port.

    Promotion of Trade and Development: Transshipment hubs play an important role in promoting international trade, and fostering economic growth and development in the country and even in the region where they are located.

  • Cost-Effective: Often routes with transshipment are more economical than direct routes, since they have longer transit times.
  • Risk Mitigation: Transshipment hubs play a critical role in mitigating risks associated with supply chain disruptions, geopolitical instability, or natural disasters. For instance, in the event of a port closure due to adverse weather conditions, goods can be rerouted through alternative transshipment hubs to minimize disruptions to supply chain operations.

Top busiest Transshipment Ports

The five busiest transshipment ports in the world are in Asia, and they are:

  1. Singapore Port: in 2019 this port handled 30.9 million transshipment TEUs.
  2. Shanghai Port: handled in 2019 approximately 21.6 million of transshipments TEUs.
  3. Shenzhen Port: handled approximately 12.9 million transshipments TEUs.
  4. Busan Port: handles approximately 9 million TEU of transshipment cargo per year.
  5. Hong Kong Port: handles approximately 5 million TEU of transshipment cargo per year.

Promptus Can Help

At Promptus, we specialize in international logistics. Our experienced staff can guide you through your shipments, ensuring the most cost-effective routes and keeping you informed at all times. Contact us today to enhance and streamline your international trade operations.

United Nations
Five busiest transshipment ports