AskDefine | Define seaport

Dictionary Definition

seaport n : a sheltered port where ships can take on or discharge cargo [syn: haven, harbor, harbour]

User Contributed Dictionary



See sea and port


  1. a town or harbour with facilities for seagoing ships to dock and take on or discharge cargo

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

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

anchorage, anchorage ground, basin, berth, breakwater, bulkhead, dock, dockage, dockyard, dry dock, embankment, groin, harbor, harborage, haven, jetty, jutty, landing, landing place, landing stage, marina, mole, moorings, pier, port, protected anchorage, quay, road, roads, roadstead, seawall, shipyard, slip, wharf
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