In a statement, the Baltic Exchange said Singapore had retained the top spot for the seventh year in a row, beating London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dubai.
The city-state earned its place due to its favourable geographical location, shipping industry ecosystem and supportive government policies.
London, with advantages accruing from providing high-end shipping finance, insurance, and legal services, has climbed back to the second place after dropping to third place in 2018 and 2019.
As the biggest port in terms of TEU throughput, Shanghai has seen a steady improvement in port facilities and shipping service level, and has ascended to the top three for the first time.
Hong Kong fell to fourth place mainly due to a decrease in cargo throughput and a drop in rankings relative to other centres in areas such as ship brokerage, insurance and legal services.
Dubai, as the pre-eminent shipping hub in the Middle East, ranked fifth for the third consecutive year. Rotterdam and Hamburg have also retained their positions since 2018, ranking sixth and seventh respectively. Benefiting from an improving business environment, Athens rose to eighth. New York-New Jersey slipped by one place, while Tokyo rose one place, returning to the ranks of the top 10.
Baltic Exchange Chief Executive, Mr Mark Jackson said: “Whilst this report reflects a pre-COVID 19 world, those locations which continue to build on their strengths, are able to communicate a clear vision for the future and diversify beyond the physical port hub will be the ones who are able to succeed in the future.
“We call on all the main shipping hubs to continue investing in education, R&D and new services; remain open to global talent and offer an attractive international business environment.”
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Chief Executive, Ms Quah Ley Hoon said: “Singapore is deeply honoured to retain the top spot in the 2020 Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index for the seventh year running.
“This good news comes amidst the COVID-19 gloom. The real test will be how we bounce back in a world shaken by an unprecedented crisis. We will need a global and co-ordinated effort.
In this regard, Singapore will continue to rally governments and the global shipping community to work together and emerge stronger.
“Within Singapore, we stand united with our maritime companies, industry partners and unions, and will strive to maintain our position as a leading International Maritime Centre and a global hub port.”
President of The China Economic Information Service, a wholly-owned company of the Xinhua News Agency, Mr. Xu Yu Chang, says: “The year, the China Economic Information Services and Baltic Exchange collaborated together with great efforts to launch the Index as scheduled amid the challenging situation brought forth by COVID-19.
“I believe the continued release of the Index will further contribute to the sustainable global economic growth by optimising shipping resources worldwide as well as promoting the scientific development of international shipping centers.”