THE 2018 International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index has ranked Singapore as the world's best shipping hub for the fifth consecutive year, topping Hong Kong, Shanghai and London.
Published by the Baltic Exchange and Chinese news agency Xinhua, the index ranks 43 of the largest ports and cities globally and acts as a guide for investors and governments on the most important shipping centres.
Four of the top 10 ports are located in Asia Pacific and three of them ranked in the top four spots. Singapore came in first due to its participation in the Maritime Silk Road initiative, which aims to boost connectivity between Eurasian countries. Within this framework, customs procedures in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates all performed efficiently, reported London's Ship Technology. Hong Kong overtook London to take second place for the first time in five years, while Shanghai was ranked as the fourth best shipping centre owing to its modern shipping logistics and services systems, and the development of its regional shipping counterparts.
Some of the major European centres dropped in the ranking due to the region’s overall weak economy: London fell one place to third; Hamburg came in seventh; and Athens was replaced by Busan in the tenth spot.
Rotterdam, however, gained two places to reach sixth, thanks to its improved operating efficiency and advancements in data gathering, artificial intelligence and other technology applications.
London retained first place (ahead of Singapore) as best centre for shipping services, a category that evaluates ports based on services covering ship broking, ship engineering, shipping business, ship repair, as well as maritime legal services and shipping finance services.
Baltic Exchange CEO Mark Jackson said: "This report underlines the constant competition and innovation taking place in cities around the world to attract maritime related businesses. Location is an important ingredient for success in the shipping industry and plays an important part in meeting the latest challenges."