AskDefine | Define ports

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Plural form of port.


Extensive Definition

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A port is a facility for receiving ships and transferring cargo. They are usually situated at the edge of an ocean, sea, river, or lake. Ports often have cargo-handling equipment such as cranes (operated by longshoremen) and forklifts for use in loading/unloading of ships, which may be provided by private interests or public bodies. Often, canneries or other processing facilities will be located near by. Harbour pilots and tugboats are often used to maneuver large ships in tight quarters as they approach and leave the docks. Ports which handle international traffic have customs facilities.
The terms "port" and "seaport" are used for ports that handle ocean-going vessels, and "river port" is used for facilities that handle river traffic, such as barges and other shallow draft vessels. Some ports on a lake, river, or canal have access to a sea or ocean, and are sometimes called "inland ports". A "fishing port" is a type of port or harbor facility particularly suitable for landing and distributing fish. A "dry port" is a term sometimes used to describe a yard used to place containers or conventional bulk cargo, usually connected to a seaport by rail or road. A "warm water port" is a port where the water does not freeze in winter. Because they are available year-round, warm water ports can be of great geopolitical or economic interest, with the ports of Saint Petersburg and Valdez being notable examples. A "port of call" is an intermediate stop, for example to collect supplies or fuel.
Cargo containers allow efficient transport and distribution by eliminating loading of smaller packages at each transportation point, and allowing the shipping unit to be sealed for its entire journey. Standard containers can easily be loaded on a ship, train, truck, or airplane, greatly simplifying intermodal transfers. Cargo often arrives by train and truck to be consolidated at a port and loaded onto a large container ship for international transport. At the destination port, it is distributed by ground transport.
Ports and shipping containers are a vital part of modern Just In Time inventory management strategies.
Ports sometimes fall out of use. Rye, East Sussex, England, UK was an important port in the Middle Ages, but the coastline changed and it is now from the sea. Also in the UK, London on the River Thames, and Manchester, on the Manchester Ship Canal, were once important international ports, but changes in shipping methods, such as the use of containers and larger ships, put them at a disadvantage.

See also

Water port topics
Other types of ports
Support to seafarers
ports in Arabic: ميناء
ports in Breton: Porzh (evit listri)
ports in Bulgarian: Пристанище
ports in Catalan: Port
ports in Czech: Přístav
ports in Danish: Havn
ports in German: Hafen
ports in Estonian: Sadam
ports in Modern Greek (1453-): Λιμάνι
ports in Spanish: Puerto marítimo
ports in Esperanto: Haveno
ports in Persian: بندر
ports in French: Port (marine)
ports in Korean: 항구
ports in Croatian: Luka
ports in Indonesian: Pelabuhan
ports in Italian: Porto (struttura)
ports in Hebrew: נמל
ports in Latin: Portus
ports in Lithuanian: uostas
ports in Lingala: Libóngo
ports in Dutch: Haven
ports in Japanese: 港湾
ports in Norwegian: Havn
ports in Polish: Port morski
ports in Portuguese: Porto (transporte)|Porto
ports in Romanian: Port
ports in Russian: Порт
ports in Simple English: Port
ports in Slovenian: Pristanišče
ports in Finnish: Satama
ports in Swedish: Hamn
ports in Tagalog: Pundahang pandagat
ports in Turkish: Liman
ports in Chinese: 港口
ports in Walloon: Pôrt (ås bateas)
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