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What is Seaport author: time:2014-08-15  

A port is a facility for receiving ships and transferring cargo to and from them. They are usually situated at the edge of an ocean or sea, river, or lake. Ports often have cargo-handling equipment such as cranes (operated by stevedores) 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 very close by. Harbor pilots, barges and tugboats are often used to safely maneuver large ships in tight quarters as they approach and leave the docks.

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. Sometimes a port on a lake or river also has access to the ocean, and is then referred to as an "inland port". 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.

The presence of deep water in channels or berths, the provision of protection from the wind, waves and storm surges and access to intermodal transportation such as trains or trucks are critical to the functioning of seaports and river ports.

Cargo containers allow for efficient transport and distribution by eliminating the need for smaller packages to be loaded individually at each transportation point, and allowing the shipping unit to be sealed for its entire journey. Standard containers can just as easily be loaded on a ship, train, and truck, or plane, 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 once again.


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