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Struggles over status as the world’s leading maritime hub are continually fascinating. It is a long time ago – well, is 50 years that long or not? – that London ceased to be world’s largest port, but remains the global centre for the legal and insurance industries that serve shipping. However, in this era of mass containerisation, the box hubs of Singapore and Shanghai are the new players, with Singapore having a distinct advantage, given that it has transparency of systems and full recourse to legislation, something critics continue to feel is missing China. But Shanghai, which overtook Singapore as the world’s largest container port five years ago, is intent on catching up.

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