A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or
more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and
cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some
ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland,
with access from the sea via river or canal.
Today, by far the greatest growth in port development is in Asia, the
continent with some of the world's largest and busiest ports, such as
Singapore and the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan.
1 Ancient ports
2 Modern ports
3.1 Inland port
3.2 Fishing port
3.3 Dry port
3.4 Warm-water port
3.5.1 Cruise home port
Port of call
4 Environmental impact
5 World's major ports
5.4 North America
5.6 South America
6 See also
6.1 Other logistics hubs
8 External links
Main article: Historical Ports
Whenever ancient civilisations engaged in maritime trade, they tended
to develop sea ports. One of the world's oldest known artificial
harbors is at
Wadi al-Jarf on the Red Sea. Along with the finding
of harbor structures, ancient anchors have also been found.
Other ancient ports include Guangzhou during
Canopus, the principal Egyptian port for Greek trade before the
foundation of Alexandria. In ancient Greece, Athens' port of Piraeus
was the base for the Athenian fleet which played a crucial role in the
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis against the Persians in 480 BC. In ancient India
from 3700 BCE,
Lothal was a prominent city of the Indus valley
civilisation, located in the Bhāl region of the modern state of
Ostia Antica was the port of ancient Rome with Portus
Claudius and enlarged by
Trajan to supplement the
nearby port of Ostia. In Japan, during the Edo period, the island of
Dejima was the only port open for trade with Europe and received only
a single Dutch ship per year, whereas
Osaka was the largest domestic
port and the main trade hub for rice.
Nowadays, many of these ancient sites no longer exist or function as
modern ports. Even in more recent times, ports sometimes fall out of
use. Rye, East Sussex, was an important English port in the Middle
Ages, but the coastline changed and it is now 2 miles (3.2 km)
from the sea, while the ports of
Dunwich have been lost
to coastal erosion.
Whereas early ports tended to be just simple harbours, modern ports
tend to be multimodal distribution hubs, with transport links using
sea, river, canal, road, rail and air routes. Successful ports are
located to optimize access to an active hinterland, such as the London
Gateway. Ideally, a port will grant easy navigation to ships, and will
give shelter from wind and waves. Ports are often on estuaries, where
the water may be shallow and may need regular dredging. Deep water
ports such as Milford Haven are less common, but can handle larger
ships with a greater draft, such as super tankers, Post-Panamax
vessels and large container ships. Other businesses such as regional
distribution centres, warehouses and freight-forwarders, canneries and
other processing facilities find it advantageous to be located within
a port or nearby. Modern ports will have specialised cargo-handling
equipment, such as gantry cranes, reach stackers and forklift trucks.
Ports usually have specialised functions: some tend to cater mainly
for passenger ferries and cruise ships; some specialise in container
traffic or general cargo; and some ports play an important military
role for their nation's navy. Some third world countries and small
islands such as Ascension and
St Helena still have limited port
facilities, so that ships must anchor off while their cargo and
passengers are taken ashore by barge or launch (respectively).
In modern times, ports survive or decline, depending on current
economic trends. In the UK, both the ports of Liverpool and
Southampton were once significant in the transatlantic passenger liner
business. Once airliner traffic decimated that trade, both ports
diversified to container cargo and cruise ships. Up until the 1950s
Port of London
Port of London was a major international port on the River Thames,
but changes in shipping and the use of containers and larger ships,
have led to its decline. Thamesport, a small semi-automated
container port (with links to the
Port of Felixstowe, the UK's largest
container port) thrived for some years, but has been hit hard by
competition from the emergent
London Gateway port and logistics hub.
In mainland Europe, it is normal for ports to be publicly owned, so
that, for instance, the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are owned
partly by the state and partly by the cities themselves. By contrast,
in the UK all ports are in private hands, such as Peel Ports who own
Port of Liverpool,
John Lennon Airport
John Lennon Airport and the Manchester Ship
Even though modern ships tend to have bow-thrusters and
stern-thrusters, many port authorities still require vessels to use
pilots and tugboats for manoeuvering large ships in tight quarters.
For instance, ships approaching the Belgian port of Antwerp, an inland
port on the River Scheldt, are obliged to use Dutch pilots when
navigating on that part of the estuary that belongs to the
Ports with international traffic have customs facilities.
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The terms "port" and "seaport" are used for different types of port
facilities that handle ocean-going vessels, and river port is used for
river traffic, such as barges and other shallow-draft vessels.
Main article: Inland port
An inland port is a port on a navigable lake, river (fluvial port), or
canal with access to a sea or ocean, which therefore allows a ship to
sail from the ocean inland to the port to load or unload its cargo. An
example of this is the
St. Lawrence Seaway
St. Lawrence Seaway which allows ships to
travel from the Atlantic Ocean several thousand kilometers inland to
Great Lakes ports like Toronto, Duluth-Superior, and Chicago.
A fishing port is a port or harbor for landing and distributing fish.
It may be a recreational facility, but it is usually commercial. A
fishing port is the only port that depends on an ocean product, and
depletion of fish may cause a fishing port to be uneconomical.
Main article: Dry port
A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road
or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment
of sea cargo to inland destinations.
A warm-water port is one where the water does not freeze in
wintertime. Because they are available year-round, warm-water ports
can be of great geopolitical or economic interest. Such settlements as
Dalian in China, Vostochny Port,
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in Russia,
Odessa in Ukraine, Kushiro in
Japan and Valdez at the terminus of the
Alaska Pipeline owe their very
existence to being ice-free ports. The Baltic Sea and similar areas
have ports available year-round beginning in the 20th century thanks
to icebreakers, but earlier access problems prompted Russia to expand
its territory to the Black Sea.
A seaport is further categorized as a "cruise port" or a "cargo port".
Additionally, "cruise ports" are also known as a "home port" or a
"port of call". The "cargo port" is also further categorized into a
"bulk" or "break bulk port" or as a "container port".
Cruise home port
A cruise home port is the port where cruise ship passengers board (or
embark) to start their cruise and disembark the cruise ship at the end
of their cruise. It is also where the cruise ship's supplies are
loaded for the cruise, which includes everything from fresh water and
fuel to fruits, vegetables, champagne, and any other supplies needed
for the cruise. "Cruise home ports" are very busy places during the
day the cruise ship is in port, because off-going passengers debark
their baggage and on-coming passengers board the ship in addition to
all the supplies being loaded. Currently, the Cruise Capital of the
World is the
Port of Miami, Florida, closely followed behind by Port
Florida and the
Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Port of call
A port of call is an intermediate stop for a ship on its sailing
itinerary. At these ports, cargo ships may take on supplies or fuel,
as well as unloading and loading cargo while cruise liners have
passengers get on or off ship.
Cargo ports, on the other hand, are quite different from cruise ports,
because each handles very different cargo, which has to be loaded and
unloaded by very different mechanical means. The port may handle one
particular type of cargo or it may handle numerous cargoes, such as
grains, liquid fuels, liquid chemicals, wood, automobiles, etc. Such
ports are known as the "bulk" or "break bulk ports". Those ports that
handle containerized cargo are known as container ports. Most cargo
ports handle all sorts of cargo, but some ports are very specific as
to what cargo they handle. Additionally, the individual cargo ports
are divided into different operating terminals which handle the
different cargoes, and are operated by different companies, also known
as terminal operators or stevedores.
There are several initiatives to decrease negative environmental
impacts of ports. These include SIMPYC, the World Ports Climate
Initiative, the African Green
Port Initiative and EcoPorts.
World's major ports
Main article: List of seaports
See also: Ports and harbours in South Africa
The busiest port in Africa is
Port Said in Egypt.
List of East Asian ports
List of East Asian ports and List of ports and harbours of
the Indian Ocean
The port of
Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India
The port of Shanghai is the largest port in the world in both cargo
tonnage and activity. It regained its position as the world's busiest
port by cargo tonnage and the world's busiest container port in 2009
and 2010, respectively. It is followed by the ports of
Hong Kong, both of which are in Asia.
See also: List of busiest ports in Europe
Europe's busiest container port and biggest port by cargo tonnage by
far is the
Port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. It is followed by
Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp or the German
Port of Hamburg, depending
on which metric is used. In turn,
Valencia (Spain) is the busiest
port in the Mediterranean basin.
List of North American ports and Ports of the United States
The largest ports include the ports of Los Angeles and South Louisiana
in the U.S., Manzanillo in Mexico and Vancouver in Canada.
Canal that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, and
is a key conduit for international trade.
The largest port in Australia is the
Port of Melbourne.
According to ECLAC's "Maritime and Logistics Profile of Latin America
and the Caribbean", the largest ports in South America are the
Santos in Brazil, Cartagena in Colombia,
Callao in Peru,
Ecuador and the
Port of Buenos Aires
Port of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Marina - port for recreational boating
Other logistics hubs
Port of entry
Lists of ports
List of busiest cruise ports by passengers
^ Rossella Lorenzi (12 April 2013). "Most Ancient Port, Hieroglyphic
Papyri Found". Discovery News. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
^ "Seaway System". greatlakes-seaway.com.
^ "Feasibility Study on the network operation of
Hinterland Hubs (Dry
Port Concept) to improve and modernise ports' connections to the
hinterland and to improve networking" (PDF). InLoc. January 2007.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-13. Retrieved
Vostochny Port JSC, Geography, Location".
Vostochny Port website.
2007. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 13
December 2012. ...
Vostochny Port is located in the south of
Primorsky Region, in the southeast of Nakhodka bay, in Vrangel bay.
This is unique natural harbor is no ice restrictions even in severe
^ EOS magazine, 6,2012
Port Rankings 2011 (PDF)" (PDF).
^ "Los 10 mayores puertos de América Latina y Caribe en tráfico de
contenedores". Revista de Ingeniería Naval (in Spanish). Madrid,
Spain: Asociación de Ingenieros Navales y Oceánicos de España.
September 28, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ports and harbours.
Port Industry Statistics, American Association of
Information on yachting facilities at ports around the world from
Social & Economic Benefits of PORTS from "NOAA Socioeconomics"
Antunes, Cátia: Early Modern Ports, 1500-1750, European History
Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved:
November 2, 2011.
Ports and harbors
Port of entry
Natural gas terminals
Lists of ports
By sea or ocean
World's busiest port
Busiest container ports
Busiest transshipment ports
Busiest by tonnage
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Port state control
Port operations simulator
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