The Shanghai port in China has topped the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2019 ranking of the world's best-connected ports in 2019.
The Chinese port gained a connectivity score of 134 points, followed by the ports of Singapore (124.63 points), Busan (114.45 points) in South Korea and Ningbo (114.35 points), also in China.
"A container port's performance is a critical factor that can determine transport costs and, by extension, trade competitiveness," said UNCTAD's director of technology and logistics, Shamika N. Sirimanne in a statement released on Wednesday.
Efficient and well-connected container ports enabled by frequent and direct shipping services are vital in minimizing trade costs and fostering sustainable development, she said.
Besides the Asian ports, the other ports on the top list are those of Antwerp (94 points) in Belgium and Rotterdam (93 points) in the Netherlands, said the statement.
The data also reveals that investments by shipping lines can attract additional services, Piraeus (Greece), operated by COSCO from China, for example, has become the best-connected port in the Mediterranean in 2019, said the statement.
None of the ports in the top 20 list are from Africa, Latin America, North America or Australasia.
In Africa, both geography and port reforms emerged as critical factors. The best-connected countries in Africa are those at its corners - Morocco, in the northwest, Egypt in the northeast and South Africa in the south, it added.
The index, which measures liner shipping connectivity, port calls and turnaround time in the world's container ports, is set at 100 for the best-connected port in 2006, which was Hong Kong, China.
UNCTAD's port Liner Shipping Connectivity Index dataset enables businesses and governments to determine maritime transport trends and their ports' positions compared to others. It now provides data on more than 900 ports.
These latest datasets complement other maritime statistics and indicators provided by UNCTAD to measure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.