How Is Port Traffic Measured?

You must have heard a lot of times that so and so port is the busiest in the world. Have you ever wondered how it is determined that this port is busiest and that is not. We will now discuss about how is port traffic measured?

This will help you to understand how the traffic in a port is managed and how the how the traffic is measured. We will also mention the top busiest ports in the world so that you can understand the activity of the ports better.

Busiest Ports

Port Traffic Measurement

It is very important to determine the traffic in a port. This helps to determine which port is busiest. How the traffic moves in and out of the port. It also helps to determine how the traffic can be managed better.

The port of Singapore and the port of Rotterdam are considered to be the busiest ports in the world. We will now discuss how it was determined that these are the busiest ports. There are many ways by which the ports activity can be measured.


One very popular method is from the tonnage of the traffic that the ship handles in a yearly basis. The more cargo a port handles the busier the port will become.

Container Ships:

The ports are also termed busiest by the number of container ships that come and leave the port.


Some of the ports are ranked as per the transshipment ports. They are determined by the total containerized transshipment cargo that they handle.

These are the three categories by which the activities of a port are measured. Based on these parameters, the port is decided to be the busiest or the not. Of course there are many important ports which are not important due to traffic but their locations.

When we look at the containerized transshipment aspect of the port then the Singapore port will definitely top the list followed by the Hong Kong and the Shanghai ports. The containerized transshipment of the Singapore airport is around 17,447 TEUs while that of Hong Kong is 6,661 TEUs. This data is not very recent but should hold good for the moment.

The next category for determining the busiest port is the container ports. In this Shanghai port tops the list. In 2011 the port handled about 31,740 TEUs of container traffic. It is followed by the Singapore port. It handled 29,940 TEUs of traffic in 2011. The third in this list would be Hong Kong. As per the date of 2011 this port handled as much as 24,380 TEUs of container traffic.

Least Preferred Method

The last category of determining the busiest port in the world is the cargo tonnage. These are calculated on the basis of tonnage. It is not considered to be a great measure of determining the port’s activities. This is because the cargo tonnage is not directly comparable as it cannot be converted to a single unit of measurement.

When we talk about cargo tonnage the port that tops the list is the Shanghai port. It handles the maximum cargo in the world as per tonnage. The number will be around 534, 371 tons. It is followed by Singapore and then by the Rotterdam port. This data was determined in 2010.

The Shanghai port appears in all the three lists that we have mentioned this is exactly why it is considered to be one of the busiest ports in the world. As per the activity of the port we can expect that the trend will continue even in the future.

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