I have a list of cargo ports of all over the world and need to show some port-to-port trips on a map, and also to compute lengths of these trips.

For that, I need a dataset of actual maritime routes (even approximative) between important ports preferably free. Is there something available?

  • Can you be a little more specific on what you're looking for? Historical data, current commerical shipping lanes, a particular area of the world, etc.? Have you seen this or this set of Esri hosted data?
    – Chris W
    Jul 8, 2014 at 20:09
  • Yes: I am looking for current shipping lanes of the world.
    – julien
    Jul 9, 2014 at 7:58
  • Shipping lanes don't really work like lines/roadways. There are lots of datasets (not all of them global) at the links above, but the only thing I've come across thus far that might be in the direction you want to go is data from 2005 which either is or is similar to the data used to create these maps. You can find it here by typing "shipping" in the top box (do not change the bottom category box).
    – Chris W
    Jul 10, 2014 at 4:27
  • Thanks a lot Chris - but I did not find what I am looking for following your links.
    – julien
    Jul 10, 2014 at 11:33

3 Answers 3


Removed the previous links, which I should have checked more scrutinously, and found some information and shapefiles which hopefully would be of some use:

  • The EEZ Boundaries (Exclusive Economic Zone) which for this purpose is mainly used to show the coastal lines and outlines of continents.


  • The main Global ports and terminals (mentions roughly 3700) but you can also download a seperate MS Access or pdf file which contains a comprehensive list of details for each port such as MAXIMUM SIZE VESSEL, TUGS, CRANES/LIFTS etc.


  • A Global Shipping Lane Network from Oak Ridge National Labs which gives the length of various routes (although a number of the routes are split into multiple parts but you could add the lengths of the seperate routes to get an approximation).


  • 1
    Are you implying these datasets have actual maritime routes or are you perhaps proposing using these datasets to estimate what the routes might reasonably be?
    – whuber
    Jul 9, 2014 at 19:28
  • Thanks @whuber, updated my answer with links to datasets containing shipping routes, boundary lines and ports
    – Joseph
    Jul 10, 2014 at 10:27
  • Thanks for the last link. It is a rough dataset but I have not found any other more detailed so far.
    – julien
    Jul 10, 2014 at 11:43
  • Unfortunately, the last link is unavailable now.
    – LMB
    Jun 12, 2017 at 14:00
  • @LaurensBakker - Thanks, that is quite annoying. Will see if they moved it someplace else :)
    – Joseph
    Jun 12, 2017 at 14:02

Please check this one, give corresponding credits to authors



EDIT: Shipping routes are there: raw_2008_shipping_mol.zip https://knb.ecoinformatics.org/#view/doi:10.5063/F1S180FS

  • Thanks, that is a very impressive source of information for maritime data !
    – julien
    Nov 3, 2017 at 7:23

This repository has shipping route network data available as geopackage files at various resolutions from 5km to 100km https://github.com/eurostat/searoute

It's an extension of this dataset: http://geocommons.com/overlays/25

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