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A more powerful place in maritime shipping: port(types, facilities, functions)

Port types, facilities, functions

Port is a more powerful and important place in the maritime industry. Here we are going to explain the most valuable details regarding ports, such as types. facilities functions and so on.

What is a harbor?

Harbor is simply called a shelter for ships it may natural or artificial.

What is a port?

A Port is defined as a harbor which having facilities for berth/moor ships, loading/unloading and value addition, and other facilities for the ships and crews.

And also, we can explain port in another way,

Port is where the place of essential facilities for ships, crews, and other vessels.

What is the difference between a harbor and a port?

Harbor is a shelter for ships, but no available facilities for berth/moor ships, loading unloading facilities, and also no value addition facilities. Harbor may be a natural place.

The Port should have facilities for berth/moor ships, loading and unloading, value addition, and other facilities for ships and crews.

Are Harbor and port the same?

When considering sea transportation, we can hear the words port and harbor. Most people think harbor and port have the same meaning. But the little bit is similar because both are by the sea and both places are used for sea transportation ships and other vessels. But the harbor and port are different places due to available facilities. In a harbor no facilities for moor/berth ships, loading unloading, and value addition facilities and

What are the basic facilities in a port?

  1. Navigation facilities -Ships bring and out of the port
  2. Cargo handling facilities-loading and unloading facilities
  3. Crew members or visitors handling facilities-Custom, Immigration, security
  4. Value addition facilities for logistics activities-Multi country consolidation, bonded cargo, transshipment
  5. Special facilities for traders-Free trade zones

why the port is a special place for maritime transportation?

Port is a special place for maritime transportation due to the below reasons.

  1. Most Maritime accidents happen to ships and crew in the ports
  2. Cargo may steal and damage
  3. Ship repairing in a port
  4. Most of the cost incurred place
  5. Most of the delays occur due to traffic and loading and unloading it making unexpected cost
  6. Surveys are available at the port
  7. Most of the shipping services are available at the port
  8. Shipping services are available-Banking, as agents, bunkering, brokering, and so on.
  9. Custom policies and government rules and regulations are implemented at the port

What are the Essential facilities and services that must provide in a port?

1. Conservancy services

Giving safe access to the port by giving protection to the port and ships when berthing and anchoring the ship. By giving navigational services such as lights, buoys, marks, breakwaters, access channels, and other engineering work for ship and port safety.

2.Pilotage and towage

Providing pilots and tugboats for ships for getting ships in and out of the port

3. Cargo handling facilities

quarry side cranes, mobile cargo handling equipment such as forklifts, tractors, trailers, mobile cranes, Transit storage areas, labor force

4. Ancillary facilities

servicing the ship owners and cargo owners by providing information when needed

5. Other facilities

  • fire protection, bunkering, security
  • Constructs of quays, wharves, transit sheds, warehouses, and road parking areas.

Reasons for port considered an economic tool for the country?

1. As a gateway to the country

this means the port is a door for external trading for a country.

2. As a logistics platform

a port is providing most of the logistical activities. It is the place of cargo and ships handling, value addition, warehouse and storage facilities providing, and distribution of the goods.

3. Port considers an element of welfare and prosperity

For society giving prosperity and social welfare through free trade zone activities, is creating employment opportunities around the port area. Industrial zones do many kinds of activities such as manufacturing goods, value addition, and reexporting items. So, it is required more labor force. Giving jobs to people make their life with prosperity and welfare.

4. Port is the main economic contributor in a country why is it?

 In a government, the main tax collection body is the port authority. By direct taxes for imports and exports. As well as international trading is done through seaports and airports. But more percentage of volume trading is done by seaports. So, a port can be defined as the main economic contributor in a country. Generate foreign currencies for the country. It is contributed to the GDP of the country.

Why Port is considered a technical tool?

As an interface

Port act as a terminal for ships, where can be sheltered safely while cargo handling.

As a link

Port is creating a link of upward and downward of cargo flow.

And also creates a link between ships and other modes of transportation like rail, road, inland waterways, pipeline transportation, etc. transshipment concept is providing a link in between sea port to sea port.

Different types of Ports in maritime transportation

Port Types By physical conditions

  • Natural port or Man-made port
  • Seaport or riverport
  • Port or dry port
  • Tidal or non-tidal port

1. Inland port

Simply defined as a port where built in a small water body such as a river, lake, or cannel. There is access to the sea by river or cannel system. From the inland waterways service providing to transport goods to sea port. And also from the sea or seaport transport cargo through river or cannel to towards the inland port for unloading cargo and transit to the inside of the country.

It may decide to transport cargo or passengers or both.

Inland ports act as normal seaports. But the thing is high draft ships cannot be reached by inland ports.

Some of the inland ports are created for the small size of vessels and ferries for transport passengers.

The inland port not having traffic congestion like seaports. Inland ports are famous for smooth operations. Sometimes inland ports are called dry docks it is the same as an intermodal hub.

For example Montreal, Canada

Montreal is one of the islands in the St. Lawrence River in Canada. When coming to Montreal you can see a big city it is an inland port along the river.

Montreal inland port’s main facilities are as below,

  • 100 berths
  • 5 container terminals
  • Inland port area-nearly 25km

Examples of major inland ports in the world

It is a major inland port in US sea

  1. Inland Port Greer
  2. Bainbridge
  3. Inland port Dillon
  4. Northeast Georgia port
  5. International Inland Port of Dallas (IIPOD)
  6. Port of Duisburg-Germany
  7. Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC)
  8. Midwest Inland Port
Example for inland port-LPKC
Example for inland port-Midwest Inland port

Facilities of inland ports

  • Same as the seaports, there are facilities for cargo storage for warehousing and consolidation.
  • Facilities for loading and unloading cargo
  • Facilities for passengers and crews
  • Customs clearance
  • Better connectivity of inland transportation like rail and road access
  • 3 PL service providing-Freight forwarding, warehousing, , stock management, temperature control storage

Benefits of Inland ports

  • Reducing freight traffic congestion
  • Reduction of emissions for transportation
  • Economic development
  • Increasing port facilities
  • Providing a quick channel to sea and export
  • Reduce total cost for logistics and transport
  • Provide 3PLS services- freight forwarding, warehousing, stock management, temperature-controlling storage

Advantages for your supply chain-Inland port

  • Transport efficiency is increasing by using sea transport as well as rail and road transportation.
  • Using inland ports can avoid heavy traffic congestion while reducing delays at ports
  • Increase the capacity of warehousing and distribution facilities away from the seaport
  • Inland ports have free trade zone facilities, so encourage logistics activities like multi-country consolidation, value addition, manufacturing, transshipment
  • The flow of the Cargo transport network made smooth and fast between the main sea and other modes like rail, and road
  • Total transport cost reduces
  • Good availability in the market will increase
  • One-stop shop-Inland port is works as a connector between different modes of transportation. So, inland ports provide facilities for them.

Types By functions of the port

1. Domestic port

simply defined as a domestic port is a port is where located in own country. Domestic ports are built for regional development


When considering the country of  USA-some of their domestics ports as below,

  • Port of Houston (Texas, USA)
  • Port of South Louisiana (Laplace, USA)
  • Port of New York, NY, and NJ (New York, USA)
  • Port of CORPUS CHRISTI (Texas, USA)

When considering the country of  Sri Lanka-some of their domestics ports as below,

  • Port of Colombo
  • Port of Hambantota

When considering the country of  china-some of their domestics ports as below

  • Port of Shanghai
  • Port of Shenzhen
  • Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan

2. Mega port/Super hub/pivot port-In the mega ports can be berth mega ships.

3.Hub port/center port/transshipment port

4. Feeder port

5. Deep sea port

6. Entrepot or transit port-this is a value-added port

7. Industrial port-handling most of the raw materials (crude oil, coal, iron), build in an industrial area

8. Naval port-Navy is inside the port

9. Custom free port-custom tax-free ports

10. Fishing port

11. Oil port

12. Specific commodity export port-example coal


Is inland port and dry port the same?

NO. Inland ports are called “wet ports” .so there is an interconnection of rivers or lakes.

Dry ports are not located on the water body.

What is a natural harbor?

A natural harbor is a place suitable for a ship that is created by nature in the sea.

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