Port Terminology

Port industry has different Port Terminology. We have gathered them here for you to understand them easily.


The process of anchoring a vessel in a port is the berthing. Vessel berthing should carry out carefully as the possibility of happening an accident is very high.


Port has dedicated areas for vessel berthing. These areas call as berth. There can be several berths in one terminal


Bollard is a heavy metal structure on ship as well as in ports. Bollards use to tie (Mooring) vessels when they are at port until the cargo operation is completed. Bollards has different strenghths like 1000 KN, 2000 KN. The ability of the bollard to hold the ship depend on the bollard power.  Generally few bollards use to tie a vessel.


Container is a box which can use to pack cargo for easy transportation


Dock is the man made structure alongside of a waterway to berth ships and engage in cargo loading and dischrging operation.

Dolphin Berth

Dolphin berth is a berth which is not connected to ashore. Yet provides a safe berth to ships. When the shore length is less, a Dolphin berth can constructed to berth vessels which has a LOA more than the available shore length


Port’s water depth is called as the draught. Ports with deep water draught  helps to berth bigger ships.


Dredger is a vessel use to dredge the port area in order to maintain the depth of the port and its entrance channel.

Feeder Service

Feeders are small vessels carry cargo between non-major ports or short distances. In general cargo transport to hub ports and distribute them from the hub port to other ports around it via feeder services. Also, the vessels carry cargo within a region also calls as feeder service.


Gangway is a ladder in ship which helps  people to move between ship and ashore.Ship crew, pilot and port state control are few main parties using the gangway.

Hub Port

Hub ports are ports where cargo move via such ports. Few specific ports will be selected as hub ports and from such ports cargo will be loaded to ship to destination ports. Hub ports also calls as transshipment ports


Liners are the vessels call port on regular basis. Liners have pre scheduled routes and pre scheduled port of calls.

Maiden Call

A vessel calling for a port at the first time


 Morring is the process of tie up the vessel to the bollards on port’s pier. Some ports has “moore masters” which is an automated method to tie up the vessels at port.

NUC vessel

NUC is Not Under Command. If the vessel cannot maneuver by herself due to an engine failure, such vessels are NUC.


Passage is the defined route of a vessel throught its voyage. Whether the ship is a liner or tramp she has a define passage to reach her destination.


A pilot is a well-experienced ship captain who manoeuvres a vessel within the port territory. Most of the ports make it compulsory to use the pilotage as the pilot is familiar with the sea conditions and the port to minimise the accidents

Port of Call

The ports which a vessel berth or stay at anchorage to get services is called as the port of call. In simple words, the ports a vessel sail become the port of calls of the vessel.

Re Stow

If a location of the cago on board should be changed due to a change in stowage plan and if cargo has to be taken out of the ship, it will be called as Re stow.


Shift On Board is a cargo handling method. If a location of the cago on board should be changed due to a change in stowage plan and if it can be done without taking the cargo out from the ship, it will be called as SOB.


STS stands for both “Ship to Ship” and “Ship to Shore” . When carg load to a vessel directly which dischared from another vessel without keeping them in strorage it become ship to ship operation. When a discharging happens to the land side it become ship to shore.Explaining this further, cargo can discharge to another vessel or send to the storage of the port or direcly discharge to a truck. Discharging to a truck, means discharging from water front to land side.


Tariff is a document published by aport. It includes all the applicable charges a vessel should pay for the services she receive from the port. Dockage, Pilotage and navigational are few charges in the tariff.


Terminal is an area dedicated to a particular type of ship. Some vessel types are container vessels, RORO vessels, Bulk vessel, Cruise vessels. The requirements of each type of vessel are differ. Hence, different terminals are available and one terminal can have one or few berths.


Throughput is the volume of cargo handled by a port. Mostly throughput publish in tonnage. For the container volume throughput publish in TEU’s (Twenty Foot Equivelant Unit). Throughput may publish yearly or monthly.


Tramp is the opposite of liners and does not sail on a schedule. When there is a demand for a vessel space, tramps cater to such requirements on a temporary basis. The charter vessels have also come under tramp category.

Transit Cargo

These are the cargo on board of a vessel which do not unload in the port where the vessel is berthed. These cargo will be discharged in another port and until that, cargo will remain on board.

Transshipment Ports

Another name for hub ports. Cargo tranship to its destination via transshipment ports. Vessel connectivity is high at transshipment ports as a lot of vessels come for cargo loading and discharging.

Transshipment Cargo

Transshipment cargo are the cargo handle in a port which do not enter in to the country,but stay until loaded to a vessel for transporting to the destination


Trim is the difference between vessel’s forward draft and the after draft


Tugboat is a vessel which helps to manoeuvre other vessels. When a ship berth in port support of the tug is essential as the vessel does not use its engine power


The port terminology for the process of untie the vessel from shore bollard

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