Global Container Port Rankings: Latest Performance Index

3-minute read

If you’ve ever wondered how ports rank globally, the latest Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) report by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence offers valuable insights.

While port performance can be evaluated using various metrics—such as terminal capacity, space utilization, cost, landside connectivity and services, and ship-to-shore interchange—the CPPI report specifically measures the time a vessel spends in port.

Since the beginning of maritime trade, ports have been crucial to the economic and social development of nations.

Malcom McLean’s introduction of containerization in 1958 revolutionized the shipping industry, significantly affecting manufacturing locations and methods. As such, container ports are vital nodes in global supply chains.

However, inefficient ports can cause shipment delays, supply chain disruptions, additional costs, and reduced competitiveness, affecting not only the local economy but also the broader supply chain.

Poor port performance can disrupt shipping schedules, increase import and export costs, and hinder economic growth and poverty reduction.

While the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath on the sector eased further in 2023, continuing or new disruptions in the form of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Aden, and draught restrictions on the Panama Canal, all impacted container shipping.

These changes influence port performance and rankings, with some issues being systemic and others location-specific.

One positive outcome of the pandemic was increased attention to the resilience and efficiency of ports, as inefficiencies directly impact consumer choice, pricing, and economic development.

The World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked more than 400 ports in their latest edition of the Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) based on the time ships spend in port (Figure 1).

The report suggests that this index should be viewed as an indicative, rather than definitive, measure of container port performance.

Figure 1: The CPPI 2023: Global Ranking of Container Ports

Global Ranking of Container Ports_1

The top-ranked container ports in the CPPI 2023 are Yangshan Port (China) in first place, followed by the Port of Salalah (Oman) in second place, retaining their ranking from the CPPI 2022.

Third place in the CPPI 2023 is occupied by the port of Cartagena, up from 5th place in the CPPI 2022, whilst Tangier-Mediterranean retains its 4th place ranking.

Tanjung Pelepas improved one position to 5th, Ningbo moved up from 12th in 2022 to 7th in 2023, and Port Said moved from 16th to 10th in 2023.

Ports moving in the other direction in the top ten: Khalifa Port fell from 3rd position in 2022 to 29th position in CPPI 2023, and Hamad Port fell from 8th in 2022 to 11th in 2023.

The Anatomy of a Port Call

As per the report, every container ship port call can be segmented into six distinct steps. These individual steps are illustrated in Figure 2.

‘Total port hours’ is defined as the total time elapsed between when a ship reaches a port (either port limits, pilot station, or anchorage zone, whichever event occurs first) to when it departs from the berth after having completed its cargo exchange.

The time spent from berth departure (All Lines Up) to the departure from the port limits is excluded.

This is because any port performance loss that pertains to departure delays, such as pilot or tug availability, readiness of the mooring gang, channel access and water depths, forecasting completion time, communication, and ship readiness will be incurred while the ship is still alongside the berth.

Figure 2: The Anatomy of a Port Call

Global Ranking of Container Ports_2

The full report and rankings of more than 400 ports can be found here.

Source: The World Bank, 2024. “The Container Port Performance Index 2023: A Comparable Assessment of Performance based on Vessel Time in Port (Fine).” World Bank, Washington, DC. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO.

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