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Ports and Ocean Freight
Much of the freight moving internationally, and especially intercontinentally moves via our oceans. At any given point there are an estimated 7.7 million metric tons of goods being shipped by via, on the more than 5000 container ships in the world's merchant fleet. Many of the world's coastal cities are involved in port and ocean freight.
There are numerous large ports in the world. In 2017, Shanghai was the largest container port in the world by throughput. Los Angles and Long Beach hold the record for the largest port in the United States, while Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Antwerp are home to the largest ports in Europe. In general the world's busiest ports are found in Asia.
Not all ports focus exclusively on ocean freight. Transport by major inland waterways is common, especially in Europe. In 2018, the EU transported more than 147 billion tonne-kilometers by inland waterways. Some ports are able to handle both ocean and inland waterway freight if the geographical location allows for it. This means that goods can be easily moved into and out of the country. Ports require specialized infrastructure to manage the complex challenges of ocean freight. First, these ports require a way to move containers onto and off of ships, a task which cannot be done by hand alone. Additionally, the ports will require a way to store, empty, and maintain shipping containers as they move through the port.
Europe is a large player in the global ocean freight market. Many of the countries we are visiting have large ports dealing with significant amounts of freight. The growth rate in ocean freight in Europe is expected to rise. By 2022 Italy is expected to earn a revenue of $6379 million from ocean freight, while the Netherlands is expected to earn $7877 million. Even countries with smaller ports are expected to see growth over the next couple of years. Croatia is expected to earn $93.2 million in revenue from ocean freight by 2023.
Ocean freight is an important part of our globalized world, allowing us to efficiently transport goods between continents. Our reliance on the oceans for freight helps to drive the push for sustainable ocean transport. As our technology improves, more environmentally-friendly ocean freight options will continue to be developed.