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[SINGAPORE] Shanghai retained its title as the world's busiest container port for a fifth consecutive year after widening the gap with its closest rival Singapore.
Singapore handled 33.9 million 20-foot containers last year, according to a statement posted on the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore's website dated Jan 16. Last month, Shanghai said it expects to process about 35.2 million boxes in 2014. A year before, the gap between the two ports was about one million boxes.
Shanghai, Shenzhen and other ports in China are dominating the global container-shipping market while the facility in Ningbo overtook South Korea's Busan last year as the world's fifth-busiest harbour. Seven of the world's 10 top container ports were in China in 2013, with Hong Kong coming in fourth.
Shipping companies are adding larger container ships to meet demand as economic growth helped consumers to spend more money on clothes and food. Global trade last year probably grew 3.8 per cent, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Global containerised trade reached 124 million boxes in the first 11 months of 2014, an increase of 4.3 per cent from 118.9 million a year ago, according to Container Trade Statistics Ltd.
Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co, the world's second-largest container shipping company, currently operates the biggest vessel that can carry 19,224 boxes between Asia and Europe. Last year, China Shipping Container Lines Co launched a ship that could carry about 19,100 containers.