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Introduction to Sea Port and Harbour

Introduction to Sea Port and Harbour provides you a complete knowledge including identifying the difference of harbour and port as well as the available services in ports. Also you can dig in to the importance of sea ports.

What is a seaport and a Harbour?

Harbour is only a natural or artificial shelter for ships.

Port is a harbour which provides services required for a ship. Ships come to ports in order to get the services. These services include cargo handling, bunkering, water, reception facilities and navigational services.

So, the ports provide more advanced services to ships while harbour provides just a shelter for the ships.

Why seaports are important?

The international trade is one of the main economic generators of most of the countries. At the same time, some countries highly dependent on imported products. The concepts like national advantages, born golden theories came into existence due to international trade. So, it is important to have transportation of goods to keep the trade flowing. Sea transport is cheap when compared to air transportation. Further, it is too risky to carry heavy and large quantities of cargo on air. So, using maritime transportation is more practical, reliable and cost-effective. More than 90% of the world trade handle via sea. With that, sea transportation became crucial for trade. No doubt, ports are obviously needed to facilitate sea transportation. Further, port act as the connecting surface for watercrafts and land.

Introduction to Sea Port and Harbour Daily Logistic
Ports Connect Multimodal Transport Modes

For island countries, only means of transportation are shipping and aviation. Hence, the importance of seaports is more for island countries. Further ports act as a gateway as it is a door to the international. Hence security at ports also a must to remember. AMS filling in U.S.A also started as a result of minimizing the risks to the country from the international. So adequate control at a port is essential to control what flows in and out.

What are Terminals in a Port?

The terminal is a part of the port. A port has few terminals to accommodate ship berthing. A terminal can have few berths too. In simple words, a particular area of a port dedicated for specific ship type can introduce as a terminal.

What is the Breakwater in Port?

The breakwater is a barrier created to block the sea waves entering into the berthing area. Manmade breakwater requires only for the artificial harbours as natural harbours block the sea wave with its natural establishment.

Seaports offer services for both vessels and cargo. Below are some of the fundamental services for your understanding

Port Services for Cargo

  • Cargo handling: loading & discharging
  • Warehousing: Open/Close
  • Move cargo from quay to yard/ yard to quay
  • Value-added services
  • Security and safety
  • Cargo clearance
  • Real-time information on cargo loading/discharging
  • De stuffing information
  • Cargo weighing
  • Cargo handling equipment

Port Services for Ships

  • Berthing allocation
  • Pilotage
  • Tug services
  • Mooring
  • Port control assistance
  • Provide quay cranes
  • Ship supplies
  • Bunker
  • Reception facility
  • Port state control

Port Classification

Seaports can classify in many ways upon the classification requirements. Below are few ways for port classifications

Ports By Ownership

  • Service Ports (Operating port)
  • Tool Ports
  • Landlord Ports

Ports By Geographical Influence

  • Natural Ports and Manmade/ artificial Ports
  • River Ports and Seaports
  • Tidal Ports and Non-tidal Ports
  • Port and Dry port

Ports By Function

  • Transhipment /Hub Ports
  • Transit Port / Entrepot
  • Feeder Ports
  • Industrial Ports
  • Domestic Ports
  • Mega Ports

What are the Value Added Service Available at Port?

  • Bonding facility
  • Multi-Country Consolidation: MCC
  • Entrepôt
  • Packing, labelling, sorting
  • One-stop shop

Port Customers and Their Expectations

Shipping Line

  • On arrival berthing
  • Real-time information
  • Faster vessel turnaround time
  • Online payments
  • Zero accidents
  • Zero theft

Importers/ Exporters/ Clearing Agents

  • Single window clearance
  • Simple processes for port permits
  • Real-time information
  • High frequency of vessels and market connectivity


  • Faster truck turnaround time
  • Faster gate clearance
  • Reasonable port charges
  • Efficient cargo handling

What are the Costs in Ports?

  • Pilotage Fee
  • Tug Service Fee
  • Port Entry Permits
  • Dockage
  • Stevedoring Charges
  • Warehousing charges
  • Port Equipment Charges
  • Ancillary services Charges
  • Landing and Delivery Charges

Considering Factors by Shipping Lines on Sea Port Selection

  • port size and Berthing capacity (Maximum draught)
  • Port Location
  • Entrance Channel capacity
  • Safe Navigation
  • Safe operation
  • Navigational aids
  • Accident Ratio
  • Productivity
  • Concessions
  • Tariff Rates
  • Available Facilities and Services

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