Transshipment incidence refers to the share container transshipment traffic (ship to ship) takes in regard to the total volume handled by a port. This share can be classified into four levels:
- Gateway or feeder port (low incidence). Transshipment incidence is less than 10%, which implies that the majority of the port activities are related to hinterland services. In the case of a gateway, we are dealing with a large port servicing an extensive hinterland. A feeder is usually a small port servicing its hinterland, but having the bulk of its traffic related to a transshipment hub. New York, Los Angeles and Felixstowe are examples of gateways having very little transshipment. Many smaller ports in the Baltic or the Caribbean are feeder ports that can access global shipping networks through a transshipment hub.
- Regional gateway (average incidence). With a transshipment incidence around 25% regional gateways handle a substantial amount of hinterland traffic, but also act as a low level transshipment hub for a specific transshipment market. Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Hong Kong are examples of regional gateways that are at the same time servicing extensive hinterlands but also performing a regional transshipment function (Baltic and British Isles for Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg and the Pearl River Delta for Hong Kong).
- Hub port (high incidence). With a transshipment incidence around 50%, the port takes the function of a transshipment hub, but is also servicing an hinterland. Such ports usually became hubs after maritime shipping companies made the decision to use them as such. In many cases, the hinterland traffic acts as an anchor to transshipment traffic. Valencia, Barcelona and Cartagena are ports that are significant transshipment hubs as well as servicing their respective hinterlands.
- Pure transshipment hub (very high incidence). Once a port has more than 90% of its traffic assumed by transshipment, it is labeled as a pure transshipment hub since transshipment is an exclusive function. Ports such as Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo and Balboa are among the world’s most prominent pure transshipment hubs. Many were built for this sole purpose in mind.