China’s dominance on the world maritime map has been illustrated once again with the release yesterday of new port data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Shanghai port topped UNCTAD’s 2019 ranking of the world’s best-connected ports, with Singapore and Busan in second and third and Ningbo in fourth.
UNCTAD’s 2019 port Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) clearly illustrates that business is moving to wherever China chooses to invest in maritime infrastructure.
Piraeus in Greece, operated by Chinese state-backed Cosco, for example, has become the best-connected port in the Mediterranean this year.
Other ports with Chinese investments that have seen their LSCIs go up include Colon in Panama, Khalifa in the UAE) and Lomé in Togo. West African ports have attracted direct services from China, leading to larger vessels being deployed on these routes.
The UNCTAD data also shows that the expanded Panama Canal has led to shifts in patterns of services.
The report indicates that the LSCI of New York/New Jersey and Savannah on the east coast of North America grew by more than 20% since the 2016 opening of the expanded Panama Canal, while the leading ports on the west coast saw their LSCI stagnate.