It's on us. Share your news here.

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Posted on November 8, 2023

Seaports with deep water channels are vital for international trade and commerce, as they allow large container ships and oil tankers to dock and unload cargo. A deep water channel, generally considered to be at least 18 metres in depth, is necessary for accommodating these massive ships that have drafts up to 16 meters. The world’s major trading nations tend to be home to deep-water seaports, which act as economic gateways, facilitating the movement of goods across oceans. Let’s take a look at the top 20 deep-water seaports globally and examine their features and locations.

The top 20 seaports with deep water channels in the world are:

1. Port of Shanghai, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

The Port of Shanghai is the world’s largest deep-water port by cargo tonnage handled, processing over 40 million TEUs annually. Located at the mouth of the Yangtze River in East China, the port has a natural deep water channel with a controlling depth of 15.3 metres. Shanghai Port is conveniently located near China’s industrial heartland and serves as a critical gateway for trade between China and the rest of the world.

2. Port of Singapore, Singapore

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Strategically located along the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia, the Port of Singapore is the world’s second-busiest transshipment hub. The port covers over 1,300 hectares and contains terminals with depths up to 16 metres to accommodate the largest container vessels today. Singapore’s reputation for efficiency and reliability makes it a leading global container port.

3. Port of Shenzhen, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Adjacent to Hong Kong in southern Guangdong province, the Port of Shenzhen in China has rapidly grown to become one of the busiest container terminals worldwide since its establishment in the 1980s as one of China’s first special economic zones. With 70 berths and 16.5 meters of depth, the port facilitates extensive maritime trade between China and other Asia-Pacific markets.

4. Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

The combined facilities of the Port of Ningbo and Port of Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, China, create the world’s largest port by cargo tonnage. The port handles well over 1 billion tonnes annually and serves as a vital manufacturing and export hub for eastern China. Deep-water berths have enabled the port to accommodate today’s largest container vessels.

5. Port of Hong Kong, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Despite stiff competition from nearby mainland Chinese ports with fewer regulations, the Port of Hong Kong remains one of the biggest container terminals globally thanks to its natural deep-water harbour and prime East Asia location. Part of a dense urban area, the port has efficient connections to mainland China’s industrial zones and beyond via road, rail, and ferry.

6. Port of Busan, South Korea

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

The Port of Busan is South Korea’s largest port, located in the southeastern tip of the country. As a gateway linking Korea to global trade, it includes terminals with depths up to 18 meters. The port is an important transshipment hub for northeast Asia and handles over 20 million TEUs annually. It has regular container shipping connections across Asia and to the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

7. Port of Incheon, South Korea

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Located in the Yellow Sea near the capital Seoul, the Port of Incheon is South Korea’s second-biggest port and a major airport logistics hub. It recently opened a second terminal, including deep-water berths able to serve mega-container ships. Incheon is a large port area home to oil refineries, industrial facilities, and free trade zones.

8. Port of Tianjin, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

As one of the major traditional ports in northern China, the Port of Tianjin serves as the primary seaport for Beijing. It contains over 200 deep water berths with depths up to 16 meters as part of a vast 40+ square-kilometer port area. Tianjin Port links northern Chinese cities with overseas locations and includes an Airfreight Inland Clearance Depot.

9. Port Klang, Malaysia

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

The Port of Klang near Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s main seaport and one of the largest by container volume in Southeast Asia. Consisting of Northport and Westports, it has post-Panamax wharves with depths up to 16 metres. Located on the busy Strait of Malacca, Port Klang offers extensive connections between East and West.

10. Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

The largest seaport in Europe, the Port of Rotterdam, spans over 40 square kilometres and offers connections between Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. With water depths up to 24 metres, the port can accommodate today’s largest oil tankers and dry bulk carriers. It also features a dense network of shipping services and inland waterway transport.

11. Port of Qingdao, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Home to the world’s largest iron ore terminal, the Port of Qingdao in eastern Shandong Province, China, is the country’s third largest port by tonnage overall. It serves as an important agriculture and mineral transit hub as well as a gateway for manufacturing trade overseas with its deep-water container terminals.

12. Port of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Strategically situated at the crossroads between East and West, the Port of Dubai has grown tremendously alongside Dubai’s reputation as a global trade, finance, and tourism hub. Consisting primarily of the terminals Jebel Ali and Port Rashid, the port is the Middle East’s largest and can accommodate today’s mega-ships.

13. Port of Guangzhou, China

Top 20 Seaports with Deep Water Channels in the World

Adjacent to Hong Kong in the Pearl River Delta region, China’s Port of Guangzhou is the main seaport for South China. It has river terminals and deep water container facilities on the Nansha and Huangpu islands, including mega-ship berths up to 16 meters deep. The port links Guangdong province’s manufacturing with global export markets.

14. Port of Dalian, China

Port of Dalian

The Port of Dalian on the Yellow Sea is a major oil port and gateway for northeast China. It contains over 300 berths with depths up to 21 meters as part of a huge port industrial area. Dalian Port serves as a hub port for oil tankers and also handles a substantial amount of bulk and container shipping traffic.

15. Port of Xiamen, China

Port of Xiamen

Located on scenic Xiamen Island off China’s southeast coast, the Port of Xiamen is the primary seaport for Fujian province across from Taiwan. It has both traditional harbor facilities on the island and a modern deep-water port called Haicang with depths up to 18.2 meters and large-scale shipbuilding and repair capabilities.

16. Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Port of Colombo

The Port of Colombo is Sri Lanka’s largest port, located along the busy east-west shipping route through the Indian Ocean. Its strategic position has helped it grow into a top transshipment center with deep water berths up to 18 meters that can accommodate the world’s largest container ships.

17. Port of Hamburg, Germany

Port of Hamburg

The second largest seaport in Europe after Rotterdam, Germany’s Port of Hamburg on the Elbe River operates over 300 berths with depths up to 15 meters in the heart of Hamburg. While container shipping comprises a major part of its traffic, it facilitates diverse global maritime trade. An inland port facility in Duisburg connects Hamburg with Europe’s canal transport network.

18. Port of Antwerp, Belgium

Deep Water Seaport

Belgium’s Port of Antwerp on the Scheldt River is the premier gateway to Europe for container shipping. It operates several terminals featuring large cranes and post-Panamax docks up to 16.5 meters deep. Antwerp is conveniently located inland with connections to Europe’s major canal, road, and rail networks.

19. Port of Los Angeles, United States


The largest port in the US, the Port of Los Angeles, covers over 7,500 acres with 43 miles of waterfront. It serves as the primary gateway between the US and Pacific Rim markets, handling around 40% of American imports. With multiple container terminals featuring deep water berths over 16 meters, it can accommodate today’s mega container ships.

20. Jawaharlal Nehru Port, India


Located east of Mumbai in Nhava Sheva, India, Jawaharlal Nehru Port is among India’s largest and busiest deep-water seaports. Its Nhava Sheva Container Terminal has enabled it to become India’s premier container port. The terminal features advanced equipment, deep draft berths up to 16 meters, and connectivity to major highways and rail networks.


In an era of larger container ships and vessels, deep water channels type of ports provide vital cargo-handling capabilities for global maritime trade and transport. As shown by this list of the top global seaports with deep water access, Asia dominates the major trading ports worldwide thanks to rapid growth in China and other Asian economies. However, important deep-water seaports in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and South Asia also facilitate critical shipping and economic activity between nations and regions worldwide. The combination of natural harbours and modern, engineered port infrastructure at these deep-water seaports underpins expanding global trade networks.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe