Source: adapted from Drewry Shipping Consultants
World’s Main Transshipment Markets, 2008
Transshipment incidence is the share of the total port throughput that is "ship to ship", implying that the final destination of the container is another port. The higher it is, the more a port can be considered as a transshipment hub and an incidence above 80% places the port as a "pure" transshipment hub. There are seven major transshipment markets accounting for the bulk of the transshipment activity. They are referred as markets since transshipment is an activity that is not tied to a specific port, unlike gateway traffic linked with inland freight distribution. Therefore, transshipment hubs compete for the traffic related to a region / market. Geography plays an important role in the setting of a transshipment market, which is often at the crossroads of north / south shipping routes and where there is a bottleneck. Singapore is such a case where the major Asia - Europe shipping lanes are constrained to pass through the Strait of Malacca. The Mediterranean has only two points of entry (Suez and Gibraltar), both of which have significant transshipment activity, as well as ports that are at the center of the basin (e.g. Marsalokk). Although the Caribbean have a large exposure on the Atlantic side, it has one outlet for the Pacific; the Panama Canal which has significant transshipment activities both on the Atlantic and Pacific sides. The North Sea and the Baltic are another transshipment market, but of lower incidence since the Baltic generates limited volumes of freight.