While the term ‘seaport’ encompasses most facilities handling ocean-voyage vessels, there are several types that are worth understanding. An inland port
is located on a lake, river, or canal with access to the ocean, allowing ships to unload cargo closer to an inland destination. A dry port
is an inland facility directly connected to a seaport by road or rail. A warm-water port
is one where the water doesn’t freeze in wintertime, making them available all year round.
Seaports can be broken down into two primary functions: cruise ports, for commercial passengers, and cargo ports. Cargo ports can then be further categorized as bulk or break bulk ports, which handle goods that need to be loaded in bulk or individually, and container ports, which handle any goods that need to be shipped in a container. Most cargo ports can handle all types of cargo, but it’s worth ensuring that you’re not dealing with a port that has specific regulations about what they can bring in.
Airports are also positioned to handle cargo operations. There are often specific infrastructures designated for cargo airlines to transfer parcels, and most international airports have cargo terminal facilities that store cargo before it is loaded/ picked up. Cargo terminals are divided into areas for export, import, interline, and transhipment to further facilitate air freight.
For more on key freight terms, check out our Freight Term Glossary.