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With the sheer size of the shipping industry today, there is an impressive number of ports currently rising up through the rankings and expanding in size and capability for imports and exports, yet none have even come close to China’s Port of Shanghai. The largest commercial port in the world, Shanghai’s trade hub, had given the country a standing as the leading trade country in the world, even surpassing the USA. Not only perfect for the freight forwarders amongst us, the Port of Shanghai is a thing of beauty, with tourism-centric activities a stone’s throw away and here, we’re giving you an insight into it all.

A Brief History

From the 5th – 7th century, the Port of Shanghai was known only as Shen or Hudu and wasn’t actually given city status until 1297 during the Yuan Dynasty. The port there wasn’t much of a port until 1684 when outgoing vessels were allowed to utilise the city and its port provided they paid the relevant customs duties on any international shipments. Despite starting and operating from practically nothing for so long, it quickly became one of the most important and one of the largest ports in China, being opened up for international trade by becoming a treaty port in 1842.

However, this all hit a stalemate when the port was restricted in 1949 by the Chinese government and trade was dramatically reduced. In fact, it wasn’t until economic reform was approved in 1991 that it was finally allowed to flourish into the successful and highly active port that it is today.

The Input And Output

The Port of Shanghai currently holds the title for the largest and busiest port around the globe, with over 30million TEU’s handled every year. In fact, 2016 saw the port set a brand new worldwide record by handling over 37million TEUs throughout the year, proving once again that China is an economic powerhouse that needs to be watched.


While the business behind this thriving port is certainly important, the local tourism has only gone on to feed into the development and popularity of China’s greatest city. Here are just a few things you can do in and near the Port of Shanghai, whether you’re visiting or stopping off waiting for your next ship to leave:

  • Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum is often deemed the best in all of China, hosting an impressive array of artefacts and artistic creations from throughout the entire 5,000 years China has existed. The building itself is something to marvel too, glowing bright gold within the city centre.

  • Qibao – Old Town

Also known as Yuyuan, this hidden gem is filled with temples, gardens and architecture clearly reminiscent of a time long passed. You can pick up snacks, do a spot of shopping or simply marvel at the extravagance and brilliance of some of Shanghai’s oldest architecture.

  • Cruise Around

If you really want a unique view of the Port of Shanghai, why not hop on a boat and look back at the port for everything that it is? You can invest in a full cruise holiday, or simply try out a shorter trip along the river for a nice break.

  • Yuyuan Gardens

This touch of history amongst the modern city will transport you back to a calmer, more tranquil time. Explore plenty of places to sit down and reflect, or pick up a few unusual souvenirs at local shops before, of course, taking a walk to view the incredible Exquisite Jade Rock.

The Port of Shanghai isn’t just an industrial powerhouse – it actually holds plenty of unique spots that truly nurture a tourism industry worthy of note. With millions of ships passing through every year, it’s easy to see why Shanghai has become such an important port in international trade.

If you’re looking to import or export from China, simply get in touch with a member of our team, today.

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