TEU figures are for 2015 are relate to the total container traffic of selected nearby ports interacting with the bottleneck. TI refers to transshipment incidence; the share of all the container volumes handled by the port system that are transshipped.
Connectivity Pattern of the World’s Major Maritime Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks of global maritime shipping have been for decades the object of geostrategic considerations as obligatory points of passages for global trade. More recently, their geographical advantage inciting the convergence of shipping services in narrow areas has been expanded with the setting of transshipment hubs. This usually involves feeder services towards smaller ports, relays connecting deep-sea services towards different maritime ranges or interlining supporting different port of calls configurations along a similar maritime range. However, based upon geographical and commercial considerations, this clustering of transshipment takes different forms.
  • Panama. The connectivity of the Panama system involves three dimensions, the first being the connectivity offered by the canal itself, which has been expanded in 2016 with a new set of locks. In addition, on each of the facades of the canal, transshipment activities have emerged, each supporting feeder services as well as offering relays along deep-sea services. This is particularly the case for the Caribbean, a large share of transshipment being handled by Panama.
  • Gibraltar. The connectivity of Gibraltar is the outcome of its role as a bottleneck between the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic, linking Europe / Asia routes and being at the intersection of West Africa / Europe routes as well. It thus represents a convenient location for relay forms a transshipment and is now subject to competition between the main transshipments hubs on its northern (Algeciras) and southern (Tanger Med) facades.
  • Oresund. The importance of Oresund is derived from the level of economic activity in the Baltic, which is a maritime dead-end and does not have ports generating enough volume to justify direct deep sea services. Therefore, it is mostly serviced by feeder services from Northern Range ports, notably Hamburg.
  • Suez. The growth of Europe / Asia trade routes has been supported by the connectivity offered by the Suez Canal. Transshipment has been particularly active on the Mediterranean facade since deep-sea services can be connected with feeder services.
  • Hormuz. Like the Baltic, the Persian Gulf is a dead-end that does not generate enough container volumes to support a wide array of direct services. Large infrastructure investments has enabled Dubai to become a major transshipment hub, acting as a connector along the Asia / Europe routes as well as feeder services to East Africa and South Asia.
  • Malacca. The Strait of Malacca is the world's most important bottleneck since it is the main passage between the Pacific and Indian oceans, combining deep sea relay services and feeder services through Southeast Asia. The port of Singapore is the world's most important transshipment hub.