August 3, 2011

China's Port-Building Challenges Singapore's Supremacy

For all its posh banks, fancy lawyers and lucrative casinos, it is the port that remains the bedrock of Singapore’s extraordinary prosperity. Founded as a trading station by the British in the early 19th century at the crossroads of Far East-European trade, the tiny city-state has become accustomed to ruling the waves as a maritime hub—and as many as 180,000 jobs in the maritime industry depend on it out of a population of just 5m.

So it came as a jolt earlier this year when it was revealed that Singapore had been knocked off its perch as the world’s busiest container port by Shanghai. In 2010 the Chinese city dealt with 29.07m TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, the standard measure of container traffic), to Singapore’s 28.43m. Given China’s rapid economic growth over the past decade it was only a matter of time before Shanghai overtook Singapore.

Indeed, if the Chinese economy continues expanding at its current lick it is almost certain that several other Chinese ports, including Ningbo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou will overtake Singapore as well during the next decade or so. Already, more than half of the world’s top ten container ports are Chinese, relegating the Europeans and Americans to the lower leagues. Full story>>

Source: The Economist

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