Singapore is world’s top maritime shipping centre

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by Emily Atkins

For the 10th year in a row, Singapore ranks first in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index (ISCDI) Report.

Published jointly by Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, and global maritime data provider, Baltic Exchange, the report lists Singapore as the global leading maritime centre, followed by London and Shanghai.

The island nation scored 95.32 out of a possible 100 points, while the maritime support services powerhouse of London scored 83.35 points and the mighty port-city of Shanghai takes third place with 81.58 points.

Singapore has held the top position since the Index began a decade ago. It has retained its position due to its winning combination of strategic location, international outlook and established ecosystem of professional global maritime services and good governance.

London and Shanghai have retained their positions of second and third place within the Index for the past four years.

Further down the top 10, there was little movement as Hong Kong, Dubai, Rotterdam and Hamburg take fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The trading capital of New York and its New Jersey port dropped by two places from eighth place last year, to 10th place this year while Athens/Piraeus moved up by one place. A relative newcomer to the Index, Ningbo-Zhoushan, sits at number nine. The Chinese city’s ranking amongst the top 10 is primarily due to it being the busiest port in the world in terms of cargo tonnage.

No Canadian ports made the top 20. Houston placed 11th and Los Angeles ranked in the 20th spot.

The main findings of the index were as follows:

  • Singapore leads the rankings for the 10th consecutive year followed by London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dubai
  • Ease of doing business, access to professional maritime services and location remain key ingredients for a leading maritime business hub
  • The top 10 locations remain largely unchanged since 2022 and features four Asian, four European, one Middle East and one United States location

A total of 43 maritime locations were rated as part of this report, which considers port factors including cargo throughput, number of cranes, length of container berths and port draught; number of players in professional maritime support businesses such as shipbroking, ship management, ship financing, insurance and law, as well as hull underwriting premiums; and general business environment factors such as customs tariffs, extent of electronic government services and logistics performance.

The average score among the top 10 ports is 77.21 out of 100, with the average across the entire 43 rankings standing at 59.19.