The Port of Singapore refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Singapore's harbours and which handle Singapore's shipping. Currently the World's busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, it also tranships a fifth of the world's shipping containers, half of the world's annual supply of crude oil, and is the world's busiest transshipment port. It was also the busiest port in terms of total cargo tonnage handled until 2005, when it was surpassed by the Port of Shanghai. Thousands of ships drop anchor in the harbour, connecting the port to over 600 other ports in 123 countries and spread over six continents.
The Port of Singapore is not a mere economic boon, but an economic necessity because Singapore is lacking in land and natural resources. The Port is critical for importing natural resources, and then later re-exporting them after they have been refined and shaped in some manner, for example wafer fabrication or oil refining to generate revenue. Only then can the service industries such as hospitality services typical of a port of call, for example, restocking a ship's food and water supplies, take their role. The Straits of Johor are currently impassable to any ship as the Johor-Singapore Causeway links Singapore to Malaysia.
The port is the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage handled, with 1.15 billion gross tons (GT) handled in 2005. In terms of cargo tonnage, Singapore is behind Shanghai with 423 million freight tons handled. The port retains its position as the world's busiest hub for transshipment traffic in 2005, and is also the world's biggest bunkering hub, with 25 million tonnes sold in the same year.
Singapore is ranked first globally in 2005 in terms of containerised traffic, with 23.2 million Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) handled. High growth in containerised traffic has seen the port overtaking Hong Kong since the first quarter of 2005, and has led the race ever since, with an estimated 19,335 TEUs handled in the year up to October, compared to 18,640 TEUs handled in Hong Kong in the same period. A rise in regional traffic consolidating the port's position in Southeast Asia, and increases in transshipment traffic using the strategic East Asia-Europe route via Singapore helped the port to emerge tops at the end of the year, a title it had not held since overtaking Hong Kong once in 1998.