Sea shipping is the most popular method for transporting goods in the world. New seaports are added, and the existing ones grow and are modernized to accommodate the largest container ships. Below we present the largest ports in Europe.
Top ports in Europe
1. The largest port in Europe, Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The port of Rotterdam is the largest and most significant seaport in Europe. The port is located on the North Sea in the Rhine-Meuse delta. From the 1960s to 1986, it was the busiest port in the world. Later it was replaced by the port of Singapore and the port of Shanghai.
The port of Rotterdam can accommodate the largest ships in the world, as the maximum draft in the port is 24 meters.
Port of Rotterdam annual throughput in 2022: 14.4 million TEUs
2. Port of Antwerp, Belgium
The port of Antwerp is one of the fastest-growing ports in North-West Europe. It covers an area of 13,000 ha and employs over 150,000 people. After modernization, the port can handle the largest ships in the world with a capacity of over 20,000 TEUs. In 2022, the port of Antwerp merged with the port of Bruges.
The port of Antwerp has one of the best locations in the center of Europe to transship goods.
Port of Antwerp annual throughput in 2022: 13.4 million TEUs
3. Port of Hamburg, Germany
The port of Hamburg is the largest German port. It was officially founded on May 7, 1189. It is also often called the “gateway to the world.” All container terminals are equipped with integrated railway terminals, which raises the port’s status on the Europe map.
Port of Hamburg annual throughput in 2022: 8.2 million TEUs
4. Port of Valencia, Spain
The port of Valencia is one of the largest seaports in the Mediterranean. This port employs over 15,000 people who provide services to over 7,500 ships a year. The port of Valencia is the center of economic activity in an area covering a radius of 350 km.
Port of Valencia annual throughput in 2022: 5 million TEUs
5. Port of Piraeus, Greece
The port of Piraeus is the largest in Greece, located near the capital of the country, Athens. It belongs mainly to the Chinese COSCO. The port consists of three terminals with over 8 million TEU capacity.
Port of Piraeus annual throughput in 2022: 5 million TEUs
6. Port of Algeciras, Spain
The port of Algeciras is the largest in Spain (in Andalusia) and one of the largest ports in Europe. The port authority is the APBA (Port of Algeciras Bay Authority). The port has two container terminals – APM Terminals Algeciras (max.17 meters draft) and Total Terminal International Algeciras (max. 17.5-18.5 meters draft).
Port of Algeciras annual throughput in 2022: 4.7 million TEUs
7. Port of Bremerhaven, Germany
The port of Bremerhaven is one of the largest ports in Europe, located in Germany. The container terminal is located on the bank of the River Weser. Bremerhaven is one of the leading transshipment centers for intermodal traffic in German imports and exports. Thanks to the port, the city has become one of the largest commercial and tourist centers.
The port of Bremerhaven is one of the world’s largest hubs for vehicle shipping.
Port of Bremerhaven annual throughput in 2022: 4.5 million TEUs
8. Port of Barcelona, Spain
The port of Barcelona is the largest port in Spain and one of the largest ports in Europe. It has two international container terminals, APM and BEST, and a railway connection. It handles ships with a draft of up to 16 meters.
Port of Barcelona annual throughput in 2022: 3.5 million TEUs
9. Port of Gioia Tauro, Italy
The port of Gioia Tauro is located in the south of Italy and is also one of the largest container ports in Europe. It is located on one of the busiest sea corridors in the world (the route connecting Suez and Gibraltar). It had the most significant increase in freight traffic on the list – over 7% YoY.
Port of Gioia Tauro annual throughput in 2022: 3.3 million TEUs
10. Port of Le Havre (Haropa), France
The development of the port of Le Havre began in 1517 when the city of the same name was founded. The port officially began operating in 1524. Le Havre was built to promote trade. The port of Le Havre has a special artificial wharf built for cargo handling. There are three terminals on the artificial coast: Terminal de France, Terminal Porte Oceane (TPO), and TNMSC.
Port of Le Havre annual throughput in 2022: 3.1 million TEUs