The development of port handling in 2022 was slightly negative

The development of port throughput for all ports in the ISL Port Database fell by around 51 million tons or 0.23% overall from 2021 to 2022, with the results varying between the individual port regions between -3.3% (Europe) and +1.1% (America).

With a total throughput of 1.1 billion tons, the 68 African ports in our Port Database achieved a market share of 5.2% of the throughput of all 500 ports included worldwide. Compared to 2021, their traffic decreased by 0,6%. The development here also varies between sub-regions. While the top five ports in Southern Africa, for example, recorded a decline in throughput of 3.3% to 245.5 million tons, the top five North African ports managed to increase their total throughput by 5.6% to reach 313.3 million tons in 2022.

More than half of the world ports’ cargo throughput was handled in Asian ports. The four most important port nations of Asia, namely China (22.2%), South Korea (6.1%), Japan and increasingly India (3.0% after 2.7% in 2021) account for two thirds of the East Asian market. They recorded a combined port throughput of 7.6 billion tons in 2022.

Port cargo traffic developed differently in the leading East Asian markets. While South Korea, Japan and – for the first time – China are confronted with a decline in throughput in 2022 (2.5%, 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively), the ports of India and especially Indonesia were able to increase their throughput by 7.7% and 11.6%, respectively.

The total weight of cargo handled in the 140 European ports included in ISL’s Port Data Base reached about 3.7 billion tons in 2022, a slight decrease (-1.6%) compared to 2021. 

European handling results fell again significantly in the last two quarters of the year 2022 and also in the first half of 2023. According to preliminary figures, only 808 million tons were handled in the first quarter of 2023, which represents a decline of 7.6% and ultimately reflects the overall economic situation in Europe. 

In 2022, the 62 ports in the ISL Port Data Base located in North American achieved a total throughput of approximately 2.4 billion tons, increasing their throughput by 3.1%. Even compared to 2018 this result represents an increase of 3.3 %.

Only 10 of the top 60 ports in South and Central America in the ISL Port Data Base mainly handle containers and other general cargo such as cars, whereas almost twice as many are rather classified as bulk cargo ports. As a result, the share of bulk goods in the total throughput of 1.5 billion tons of the 61 ports in this region is comparatively high at 71%. The total throughput of all ports decreased by 2.4% compared to 2021, with the decline in throughput of (mainly) dry bulk cargo (2.6 %) being slightly stronger than that of general cargo/containers (-1.9 %).

Further Information

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ISL Port Database

The facts outlined above and many more details about the world maritime trade and the development of the ports involved can be found in the current issue of our SSMR.

The special feature topics of each SSMR issue are:

  • Issue 1: World Merchant Fleet
  • Issue 2: Tanker Market
  • Issue 3: Bulk Carrier Market
  • Issue 4: Container Shipping
  • Issue 5: General Cargo and Container Shipping
  • Issue 6: Passenger and Cruise Shipping
  • Issue 7: Shipbuilding and Shipbuilders
  • Issue 8: Major Shipping Nations
  • Issue 9: World Seaborne Trade and World Port Traffic
Dieter Stockmann