HomePorts And ShippingTop 10 Port Operators In the World

Top 10 Port Operators In the World

The port operators are the companies who are responsible for or have the authority to manage and run a seaport or a port terminal. There are different types of port operating models as landlord port, service port etc. DP World, Hutchison, Adani, CMPort and APM terminals are a few leading port operators in the world.

Some ports are operated by a local authority representing the country’s government. Some ports are operated by private entities. The government of a country decide whether to privatise or serve as a public port depending on the ability to meet service requirements, investment and competitiveness.

Gantry cranes, berths, canals, roads, storage facilities, communication equipment, computer systems, and dockworkers’ agreements must be managed and upgraded to maintain efficiency and faster turnaround time. In addition, the port operator oversees leasing, safety, and security.

The goal of port operations is to enable the seamless transfer of ships and their cargo from one terminal to another. There are numerous ways to travel by sea, and each type of vessel has its unique characteristics. Almost all types of watercraft, including commercial ships, ferries, barges, and pleasure boats, rely on port operations in completing a passage of the voyage.

The operation of ports will be influenced by a variety of elements, including geographical qualities, the architectural design of the terminal, and the ease of navigation. In addition to these operational aspects, ports are also subject to municipal and state rules that are established by port authorities.

The security, safety, and success of a cargo or leisure shipping route may depend on how port operations are conducted. Although every port and terminal will be different, port authorities will generally be in charge of numerous tasks, such as maritime logistics, navigational support, licensing and regulatory contributions, and monitoring of the marine environment.

Following port operators are deemed to be the prominent port operators in the world;

1. PSA International – 61 million TEU in 2020

Top 10 Port Operators In the World

The world’s busiest terminal operator, PSA International encompasses a global network of over 50 locations in 26 countries with a staff of 40,000 members, owning more than 60 deepsea, rail and inland terminals, as well as affiliated businesses in distriparks, warehouses and marine services around the world.

In the 1970s, PSA took the crucial step of building a container port in Singapore and handled its first container ship in 1972. Ten years later, the number of containers handled crossed the one-million-TEU mark. By 1990, container volumes handled by PSA Singapore Terminals grew to 5 million TEU making Singapore the world’s largest container port.

PSA took the first step in becoming a global terminal operator in 1996 when it embarked on its first overseas venture in Dalian, China.

2. COSCO SHIPPING Ports (CSP) – 48 million TEU in 2020

Top 10 Port Operators In the World

The second-busiest terminal operator in the world is a subsidiary of the Chinese shipping giant, COSCO, and is headquartered in Hong Kong.

CSP’s terminal portfolio covers major port regions in Mainland China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America and the Mediterranean. As of 30 June 2021, CSP operated and managed 357 berths at 36 ports globally, of which 210 were for containers, with an annual handling capacity of approximately 118 million TEU.

3. APM Terminals – 44.9 million TEU in 2021

Top 10 Port Operators In the World

PM Terminals is an international container terminal operating company headquartered in Hague, Netherlands. It is currently the third-busiest port and terminal operator in the world and is a part of the Danish shipping organisation, A.P. Moller Maersk.APM Terminals operates in 42 countries with 75 ports and terminals, while in 2020 it handled more than 32,000 vessel calls and 11.2 million moves.

Maersk’s subsidiary, which has 22,000 employees around the world, has reported a revenue of US$3.2 billion.

4. China Merchants Group – 44.4 million TEU in 2020

Top 10 Port Operators In the World

China Merchants Group was founded in 1872 and is an international state-owned corporation of the People’s Republic of China, as the company is operating under the direct supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

China Merchants is a port investor, developer and operator, while it has established a relatively comprehensive port network in China’s major coastal hub ports, with a strong presence in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Shanghai, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, Yingkou, Zhangzhou, Zhanjiang and Shantou, as well as in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South America and Oceania.

5. DP World – 44.3 million TEU in 2020

United Arab Emirates (UAE) – based DP World is the fifth busiest container port and terminal operator, which expands to more than 180 countries worldwide with a team of over 56,000 employees.

Beginning operations in 1972 at Port Rashid in Dubai, UAE, DP World’s activities now include ports and terminals, industrial parks, logistics and economic zones, maritime services and marinas.

DP World reported revenue of U$8.5 billion and tax profit after tax of US$3.3 billion in 2020. In the last months the company has focussed on an acquisition strategy aiming to enhance and expand its global presence.

6. Hutchison Ports – 44.3 million TEU

The Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports operates 52 ports and terminals in 26 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, America and Australasia, while it occupies 30,000 employees worldwide.

The Group’s journey dates back to 1866 when the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company started by constructing and repairing ships which later, in 1969, diversified into cargo and container handling as Hongkong International Terminals Limited (Hutchison Ports HIT).

In 1994, the Group was renamed at the current name while its network was expanded with logistics and transportation businesses such as cruise ship terminals, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair.

7. Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) – 28.2 million TEU

The subsidiary company of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), TIL was founded in 2010 aiming to secure berths and terminal capacity in the ports used by the Swiss shipping line.

TIL has become one of the most geographically diverse container terminal operators globally, by operating 40 terminals in 27 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and West Africa.

8. International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) – 10.2 million TEU in 2020

After its establishment in the Philippines in 1997, ICTSI consolidated operations at the Manila International Container Terminal and soon expanded its presence worldwide.

Now, the eighth-busiest terminal operator occupies 7,000 employees in 34 terminals across 20 countries in the Asia Pacific, America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and innovates in its field after launching the first fully automated container handling facility at Victoria International Container Terminal in Melbourne of Australia.

9. CMA CGM- 8.2 million TEU in 2020

The fully-owned CMA CGM subsidiary, CMA Terminals including APL Terminals, was created in 2012 and handled 2.6 million TEU in its first year of operations alone and therefore soon became the ninth-largest company in the industry of port operations.

Even though CMA Terminals was established by the homonymous shipping company, it serves all carriers and operates all aspects of container terminals, from conception and development to acquisition and management, in key-trade markets.

CMA CGM owns in total 48 terminals worldwide, 27 of which are operated by CMA Terminals, and 21 by Terminal Link company whose 51% is held by the CMA CGM Group and 49% by China Holdings International.

10. Evergreen Marine Corporation (EMC) – 8 million TEU in 2020

EMC is based in Taiwan and apart from being one of the largest container shipping lines in the world, is also involved in the port/terminal operating sector.

EMC is operating three major transhipment hubs, two in Taiwan, Taichung Container Terminal and Kaohsiung Container Terminal, and one in Panama, Colon Container Terminal. Additionally, the Taiwanese firm is also active in the United States, Europe and Asia, operating several terminals.


Many ports across the world are switching from manual, time-consuming port operations to smart technology/ IOT as digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI) advance quickly. We now have Smart Ports thanks to these services.

Smart Ports are a more environmentally friendly and technologically advanced version of conventional ports created to enhance distributor communication while streamlining maritime processes. All of this is accomplished while maintaining effective maritime environmental management, which safeguards the ocean.

These ports rely on real-time information that is updated often. Teams working on port operations may now access information that enables them to troubleshoot problems before they develop, saving money and time, thanks to the automation of formerly time-consuming and wasteful activities by AI.

The whole supply chain for the maritime industry is changing as a result of AI and automation. Port operations can fully benefit from these technological services to make sure their tasks are more precise and efficient.

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  1. I have worked with a number of these operators by helping them recruit professionals around the world and they seem to have an above-average pay scale with solid and well-defined career path. No wonder why they are the biggest.


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