World’s top innovative nations

January 16, 2009

1. United States

The United States still rules the world when it comes to innovation. This is no surprise, as the US with a legacy of over 100 years in innovation, has been consistent in taking the leader’s slot. The US knows it must continue to innovate to stay ahead. It tops in three areas: human capacity, business markets and competitiveness. The five input pillars that are included in the GII are: Institutions and Policies, Human Capacity, General and ICT Infrastructure, Markets Sophistication and Business Sophistication. The input pillars define aspects of the conducive environment required to stimulate innovation within an economy. There are three output pillars which provide evidence of the results of innovation within the economy: Knowledge Creation, Competitiveness and Wealth Creation. The US scored high on both input (ranked 2nd) and output (ranked 1st) pillars.

2. Germany

Germany follows in second position, maintaining its position from last year. Germany scores relatively low on the input pillars (10th) and very high on the output pillars (2nd), leading to an overall second rank. It is important to note that that eight out of the top 10 countries in the list are from Europe. As global competition intensifies and innovation becomes more important, the business sector has been internationalizing knowledge-intensive corporate functions, including research and development, the study points out.

3. Sweden

Sweden rises to 3rd rank in 2008 year from 12th position in 2007. It’s important to provide a safety net to innovators, says the study. There must be a conducive environment for innovative companies. A ‘succeed or perish’ environment often kills innovative ideas in the nascent stages as people will be too intimidated to take creative risks that could fail.

4. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom fell from 3rd to 4th position in 2008. The study reflects that innovation is correlated with income levels in a country. For example, the innovation levels in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries are much more than non-OECD countries. The high income countries do significantly better by topping innovation rankings. The average innovation index falls with the income levels of the country.

5. Singapore

Singapore rose to 5th rank in 2008 from 7th. Singapore is also 2nd from the Asian region. Innovation is not just about generating new ideas, says the study. It is about translating these ideas into value-added products and services. This requires flexibility of attitude and a willingness to adapt and welcome unprecedented levels of change on the part of all stakeholders involved, says the study.

6. South Korea

South Korea made a giant leap by grabbing the 6th rank, up from 19th position in 2007. Over the last two decades, the Republic of Korea has undergone a great change, with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and innovation becoming the power engine for its high economic growth. After facing a big financial crisis in 1997, Korea emerged into a powerhouse of knowledge through the consolidation of knowledge industries with the ICT industry itself contributing to more than 30 per cent of its total exports, the study states.

7. Switzerland

One of the world most beautiful places has also made it to the top innovative nations’ list. Switzerland is ranked 7th in the global innovative index. Innovation is the key driver of any economy. It works best when like-minded individuals come together in small collectives, irrespective of political and cultural differences and work on projects that yield value for all parties involved.

8. Denmark

While Denmark features among the top nations with an overall score of 5.73 along the different input pillars, it ranks relatively low at position 21st along the output pillars. This pulls the overall GII rank of Denmark down to 8th and raises questions as to why despite creating a highly conducive environment for innovation, it is not able to capitalize on it. The remarkable leadership and phenomenal development of the three Nordic countries of Finland, Denmark and Sweden have consistently done well in the development of institutions and policies that nurture innovation. Denmark tops the ICT and infrastructure pillar. Denmark also comes at top position in the 2008 Networked Readiness Rankings of the World Economic Forum.

9. Japan

The world’s industrial powerhouse Japan moved down to 9th position in 2008. It was ranked fourth in 2007. Ranked relatively lower along the input pillars (16th), Japan comes in at an impressive 3rd position along the output pillars. Clearly, Germany and Japan are able to leverage their less favorable innovation environments into more effective innovation results. The Japanese society is currently undergoing deep structural changes. Japan enjoys a competitive edge in business sophistication, innovation and R&D (research and development) spending. But its macroeconomic weaknesses have led to one of the highest debt levels in the world. People are also questioning the values of the political, economic and social institutions, and alternatives are being explored. This includes the fields of education, research and innovation as well. The government and the private sector give high priority to R&D spending.

10. Netherlands

The Netherlands with a prosperous economy is ranked 10th in the list. It is also the 16th largest economy in the world. A country’s readiness is linked to its ability to garner the best from leading-edge technologies, expanded human capacities, better organizational and operational capabilities and improved institutional performance, according to the study.


World’s top 10 consumers of oil

July 25, 2008

1. United States

The United States of America is the single largest consumer of oil. It uses as much as 20.73 million barrels per day.

2. China

A fast growing China is the world’s second largest user of oil. The world’s most populous nation uses 6.534 million barrels per day.

3. Japan

Japan is the third largest consumer of oil. The Asian nation consumes 5.578 million barrels per day.

4. Germany

Germany is the fourth biggest consumer of oil in the world. It uses 2.650 million barrels per day.

5. Russia

Russia is the fifth largest consumer of oil. It uses 2.500 million barrels per day.

6. India

India is the sixth largest consumer of oil. It burns up 2.450 million barrels per day.

7. Canada

Canada is the world’s seventh largest consumer of oil. It uses 2.294 million barrels per day.

8. South Korea

South Korea is the world’s eighth largest consumer of oil. It uses up 2.149 million barrels of oil per day.

9. Brazil

Brazil is the ninth largest user of oil. It guzzles 2.100 million barrels per day

10. France

France is the world’s tenth largest consumer of oil. It devours 1.970 million barrels per day.

World’s busiest ports

July 2, 2008


Sea transport is the largest carrier of freight in the world. In India, Nhava Sheva International Container terminal (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) in Navi Mumbai handles the highest traffic in the country. The Nhava Sheva International Container terminal in Navi Mumbai (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) is the busiest port in India, handling nearly 60 per cent of India’s port traffic. Nhava Sheva is India’s first privately managed container terminal. Developed at a total cost of $250 million, the terminal handled around 1.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit — containers are counted in 20-foot lengths) in 2007-08. Currently it is managed by DP world under a build-operate-transfer agreement set up with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.


The world’s largest container transshipment hub, Singapore, handles about one-fifth of the world’s total container shipment. In 2007, Singapore Terminals handled 27.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUS) of containers. The port of Singapore operates 4 container terminals and 2 multi-purpose terminals in Singapore, and links shippers to an excellent network of 200 shipping lines with connections to 600 ports in 123 countries.

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam is Europe’s largest logistic hub. The port is the gateway to a European market of 450 million consumers. More than 500 scheduled services link Rotterdam with over 1000 ports worldwide. The port has a depth of 24 meters (75 feet). The port and industrial area stretches over a length of 40 kilometers and covers 10,000 hectares. Rotterdam is also Europe’s cheapest bunker port. One of the main advantages of Rotterdam is its location on the estuary of the rivers Rhine and Maas. This helps to transport goods economically to other regions in Europe.

South Louisiana

The Port of South Louisiana, which stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River, is the largest tonnage port district in the western hemisphere. Over 4,000 vessels and 55,000 barges call at the Port of South Louisiana each year, making it the top ranked port in the US in terms of total tonnage.


The Port of Shanghai, located in the vicinity of Shanghai, comprises a deep-sea port and a river port. In 2006, with a total of 537 million tons of cargo transported, it became the world’s busiest port by cargo tonnage for the first time. The Port of Shanghai is situated at the middle of the 18,000km-long Chinese coastline and is an important gateway for foreign trade. The Port enjoys a good geographical location, modern infrastructure and facilities.

Hong Kong

The port of Hong Kong, located by the South China Sea, is a deepwater seaport dominated containerized products’ trade. The natural shelter and deep waters of Victoria Harbor provide ideal conditions for berthing and handling all types of vessels. It is one of the busiest ports in the world, in terms of cargo handled and passengers carried.


The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long complex near the Gulf of Mexico. It is the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage, second-busiest in the United States in terms of overall tonnage.

Chiba, Japan

The Port of Chiba is located centrally in Tokyo Bay. Its 133 km of coastline spanning six cities makes it the largest port in Japan. The Port of Chiba has seen one of the leading ports in Japan in terms of the cargo volume handled.

Nagoya, Japan

The Port of Nagoya is the largest trading port in Japan. It accounts for about 10% of the total trade value in Japan. It is also the largest exporter of cars in Japan. Toyota exports most of its cars through this port. A part of the port has been redeveloped as a leisure district. It offers an aquarium, shopping mall, amusement park, museums and green space

Ulsan, South Korea

Korea is located in the centre of the world’s trunk routes, including the North American route, the Southeast Asian route and the European route. The Port of Ulsan, located at the south-east corner of the Korean Peninsula is a natural port and a strategic trade centre.

Gwangyang, South Korea

The Korean government plans to promote Korea as the logistics hub of Northeast Asia. The total cargo traffic is expected to increase to 1.4 billion tones by the year 2011. Dongbu Kwangyang Container Terminal in Kwangyang Harbor offers lower usage charges and taxation benefits.

World’s 10 best airports

April 26, 2008

According to Airports Council International’ ‘Best Airport Worldwide Quality Survey’ for 2007 the top spots went to three Asian airports — Seoul’s Incheon (serving 25-49 million passengers annually), Kuala Lumpur International Airport (15-25 million) and Singapore’s Changi Airport (25-49 million). Two other Asian airports, Central Japan (5-15 million) and Hong Kong (over 40 million), were picked as winners in the five annual-passenger traffic size categories. Other airports to feature in the list were Oporto in Portugal, Dallas Fort Worth in the US, Johannesburg in Africa, Guayaquil in Latin America & Caribbean, and Tel Aviv in the Middle East.

1. Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport, the ‘Winged City’, is located on reclaimed land approximately 32 miles from downtown Seoul, South Korea at a cost exceeding $5bn. The main passenger terminal is the largest in South Korea, measuring 496,000 square meter. It is 1,060m long, 149m wide and 33m high. Incheon Airport’s baggage handling system is designed to process 31,000 pieces of luggage an hour by using a centralized computer-controlled, automated tilt-tray system that sorts pieces of luggage with barcode readers. Arrival facilities include 120 immigration counters and 50 customs counters.

2. Kuala Lumpur International Airport

KL International Airport is surrounded by four main cities of Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Seremban and Malacca. KL International Airport is close to Malaysia’s Administration Capital – Putrajaya. KLIA was voted as the World’s Best Airport for two consecutive years, in the 2005 (AETRA awards) and 2006 (ACI-ASQ awards). The airport is built on 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres – one of the world’s largest construction site) of agriculture land at a cost of about $3.5bn and commenced full commercial operations on June 28, 1998. From the air, the KLIA looks like a futuristic structure hidden in a remote jungle. Encircling the airport is a tropical forest.

KLIA boasts of the world’s tallest air-traffic control tower, the biggest column less hangar, biggest passenger lounge and the capacity for 25 million people a year. KLIA is the second airport in the world after Munich to have a special chamber to defuse explosives as part of its sophisticated fire-fighting systems.

3. Changi International Airport

Singapore Changi Airport is recognized as one of the best airports in the world. With 80 airlines serving more than 180 cities in over 50 countries, Changi Airport has established itself as a major aviation hub in the Asia Pacific region. Terminal 3 was built at a cost of S$1.75 billion and has an annual handling capacity of 22 million passengers, bringing Changi Airports total handling capacity (including Budget Terminal) to 70 million passengers per annum. In 2007, the airport handled a record 36,701,556 passengers, a 4.8 per cent increase over the 2006 fiscal year. This made it the 19th busiest airport in the world and the fifth busiest in Asia by passenger traffic in 2007.

The airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world, handling 1.89 million tons of cargo in 2007. With the impending arrival of the Airbus A380, the airport put into place modifications works costing S$60 million. These included the building of 19 gates capable of handling the large aircraft, eight of which are in Terminal 3. Baggage claim carousels, runways, and taxiways were expanded, and two new freighter aircraft stands and two remote aircraft parking stands were built. Two aircraft taxiway bridges spanning Airport Boulevard leading to the terminals also had shields installed on either side to shield the road from the jet blast.

On 11 November 2005, the airport became the first outside Europe to receive the A380 for airport compatibility verification tests, and was the first in the world to have an operational triple-passenger loading bridge fit for trials.

4. Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport, since it was built on the island of Chek Lap Kok through land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from the old Kai Tak Airport. Terminal 1 of the HKIA is currently the second largest airport passenger terminal building of the world.

Terminal 2 of the Hong Kong International Airport, together with the Sky plaza, opened on February 28, 2007. Annual passenger and cargo throughput reached 47.8 million and 3.74 million tons in 2007, up 7.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent over 2006, respectively. As the world’s fifth busiest international passenger airport and most active worldwide air cargo operation, HKIA sees nearly 800 aircraft take off and land every day. Over 85 airlines operate at HKIA, linking Hong Kong with more than 150 locations round the world, including some 40 cities on the Chinese Mainland.

5. Central Japan International Airport

The Central Japan International Airport is located on a reclaimed island, approximately 2 kilometers offshore from Tokoname City, which is roughly 35 kilometers south of Nagoya. Thanks to its central location, visitors arriving at Centrair will find the rest of Japan easily accessible through the domestic air service network, the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train), and the Tomei and Meishin Expressways. Planned as an international airport operating 24 hours a day, Centrair is the new gateway to all of Japan. In the passenger terminal building of Centrair, shops and restaurants surround the Center Plaza.

6. Ben Gurion International Airport

Ben Gurion International Airport is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, with about 10.5 million passengers passing through it in 2007. The airport is near the city of Lod, 15 kilometers southeast of Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion Airport is the hub of El Al Israel Airlines, Israir Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines, and Sun d’Or International Airlines. Ben Gurion International Airport started out in 1936 as Lydda Airport.

Ben Gurion Airport is considered one of the world’s most secure airports. The airport has been the target of several terrorist attacks, but no attempt to hijack a plane departing from Ben Gurion airport has succeeded. Terminal 3 is used for international flights, and Terminal 1 is used for domestic flights. The airport has three runways and is used by commercial, private, and military aircraft.

7. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

DFW International Airport is located halfway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. DFW International is the world’s third busiest airport, offering nearly 1,900 flights per day and serving 60 million passengers a year. Voted ‘Best Airport in the Americas for Customer Service’ two years in a row by an Airports Council International survey of passengers, DFW provides nonstop service to 135 domestic and 38 international destinations.

The new international terminal (Terminal D) opened in July 2005. A new people mover system named Skylink, opened in spring of 2005 and is the world’s largest high-speed airport train system. Totally automated, Skylink trains run every few minutes and travel at speeds up to 35-37 mph. DFW is connected by shuttle bus to a commuter rail station just south of the airport. The Trinity Railway Express line serves both downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth. Dallas/FortWorth International Airport has five terminals. The airport is designed with expansion in mind, and can theoretically accommodate up to thirteen terminals totaling 260 gates!

8. Francisco SA Carneiro Airport

Francisco SA Carneiro Airport, also known as Oporto Airport, is the third-busiest airport in Portugal based on aircraft movements and also for passenger numbers (after Lisbon and Faro). The airport is situated 11km from the city of Porto. A new terminal building worth euro 108m opened in the fourth quarter of 2006. The new facility has increased the amount of space at the airport for check-in; there are two additional luggage carousels and more space for retail concessions and facilities such as coffee shops, bars and restaurants

9. OR Tambo International Airport

OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International) is the busiest airport on the continent – and the air transport hub of southern Africa. The airport caters for over 13 million passengers each year, and employs some 18 000 people. The airport was named the leading airport in Africa at the 2005 World Travel Awards, and won the Skytrax Best Airport in Africa award from 2002 to 2004 (coming second to Cape Town International in 2005).

The opening of a new, state-of-the-art domestic terminal in 2003 significantly expanded the airport’s capacity and facilities. The R450-million terminal development was accompanied by a R400-million upgrade of adjacent aprons and the road network feeding the airport.

10. Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport

Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, Guayaquil, Ecuador was formerly called Simon Bolivar International Airport. The airport, which has the newest terminal in Ecuador, was renamed after Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, a notable Ecuadorian poet, in 2006. Buses and taxis connect the airport to Guayaquil’s city centre. Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport was named ‘Best Airport in Latin America’ by BussinessWeek Magazine.