What Is The Difference Between A Port And A Terminal?

What Is The Difference Between A Port And A Terminal?

Our article explains the difference between ports and terminals, and how they work. Ports are gateways for cargo and passengers. They are made of terminals that specialize in one or another.

Differences Between A Port And A Terminal

As everybody knows that global shipping today is the basis of the world economy, as it transports almost 90% of goods.

Let’s imagine what happens if the shipping process stops. You do not have to analyze too much to understand that it will negatively affect imports and exports, as well as the speed of delivery of raw materials from point A to point B. Agree, the situation is rather unpleasant, so do not underestimate the shipping as it is one of the most convenient methods of transportation. More raw materials can be transported by sea than, for example, by air.

Like any other field, it has a huge number of terms: port, terminal, jetty, etc. Today we aim to deep into the analysis of the first two concepts. What exactly are a port and a terminal? How do they differ and why is it so important to distinguish them?

Terms: a port and a terminal

Before digging deeper, we need to start from scratch and understand the meaning of two terms.

To begin with, a port is a marina (usually located on the seashore) where boats and cargo are located. It serves as the point of transaction where shipping operations are negotiated.In turn, a terminal is a specific place in a seaport where goods are loaded and unloaded. It can also be called a “checkpoint”. As a rule, there are several terminals in a seaport. As you understand it is a broader concept than the terminal. However, these two locations are equally important for shipping.

The Differences Between Ports And Terminals

It would be a huge mistake to identify these two concepts since they are not the same and also have differences. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

  • A port is something like a station where trade takes place for the purpose of making a profit, as well as loading and unloading goods, people, raw materials.

In turn, the terminal serves as a kind of checkpoint, where the cargo is checked and the documentation is processed.

  • A terminal is a specific place in a port where certain activities can take place. The port may have different terminals for gas, oil, building materials, etc.

The port is a broader concept since all terminals are located in it. It is a location for all cargo, ships, boats, and port officials. In simple terms, a port is a warehouse as here you can find everything that has to be loaded or unloaded on a ship.

The Importance Of Ports

Let’s turn our attention to the importance of ports and define their main aspects:

  • The loading and unloading process is rather laborious and energy-consuming. Sometimes the work can last a week or even a month. Accordingly, the more the labor force, the more productive the work. So this is a great way to get a job.
  • Ports promote trade. And we are not talking about trade inside the country but abroad. Having ports in the country is a great opportunity to cooperate with other countries, sending raw materials and goods. Accordingly, the economic level is growing, as well as trade relations with representatives of neighboring countries.
  • It should be noted that shipping is one of the safest and cheapest types of transportation. What’s more, it does not pollute the environment compared to trucks and planes.

The Importance Of Terminals

Terminals are also an important strategic location because:

  • they are able to create a boundary between clients, port officials, and government agencies.
  • сhecking the cargo and processing documents by customs officials at the terminals allows them to sort and clear the cargo, as well as protect others from counterfeits and low-quality products.

Ports Authority

Typically, ports are controlled by port authorities, who regulate prices to ensure the safety of goods, cargo, and passengers. It is responsible for the construction of seaports, as well as keeping the critical aspects of trade and transport at a high level.

Port Types

Based on the features of the port, we highlighted 5 port types:

Inland ports

It is usually designed to carry goods, passengers, or both. They are located on small bodies of water. Moreover, they can have a connection with the sea thanks to the canals system.

Inland ports are usually adapted for small ships, as small bodies of water are not designed for large ones. They are usually built to store cargo, but sometimes are open for passengers.

In turn, the inland terminal connects trade expeditions between regions for both inbound and outbound traffic.

Fishing Ports

This is exactly the case when the name speaks for itself since this type of port is associated with the fishing industry. Their location is based on the availability of fish in a particular region. Ports can be inland or marine.

Quite often, fishing ports serve as a point of trade; they are also used for entertainment and aesthetics. They are aimed at promoting legal fishing and are highly profitable.

Unfortunately, many fishing ports are closed, as they require major repairs and large funds for these works.

Warm Water Ports

The peculiarity of this port type lies in the higher water temperature. What does it give? During winter cold weather, the water does not freeze. It allows port employees to continue working without stopping the process till warmer days. Thanks to this, the country’s economy does not suffer colossal losses, but, on the contrary, grows.

Dry Ports

This is an inland terminal located at a short distance from the port and connected to it by direct rail or road links.

It includes such facilities as temporary storage warehouses, road and rail sidings, and open areas for storing containers. All elements of this system are united by a common technological process and are linked by a single electronic document flow.

The need to implement such a concept has matured long ago. Due to the peculiarities of Russian imports, the most common directions are shipping from the USA, China, Japan, Korea, as well as other countries of Southeast Asia. In Russia, international container traffic makes up a significant part of the cargo turnover, and every year their volume continues to grow.

Sea Ports

This type is the most popular and widespread around the world. The name suggests that such ports are located on the sea. The advantage of the seaport is the ability to transport both light and heavy cargo. In turn, this type is divided into:

Cruise Home Ports

This port specializes in cruise liners. It also provides a platform where passengers can board and disembark the cruise ship. Moreover, the port usually provides everything you need for a trip.

Port Of Call

It is a port that is an intermediate point during a ship’s journey. Also, repair work can be carried out here, and passengers can go ashore. It is usually halfway along the ship’s route.

Cargo Ports

This port is made exclusively for cargo handling. Moreover, during the unloading or loading of goods, an enormous number of mechanical methods are used in such ports. Also, one port can handle several types of cargo.

Regionalization and Transshipment Hubs

Port development beyond its borders includes cooperation with inland, dry ports, and seaports in the immediate vicinity. Port regionalization has been identified as a key concept in managing the relationship between ports and inland freight distribution centers. While significant geographic differences may develop around the world, the regionalization phase will in all cases bring the port development perspective beyond the port perimeter.

Initially, the transshipment was intended to serve small ports that cannot accept large container ships due to low draft. However, specialized transshipment centers began to emerge. Transshipment requires a lot of space in the shipyard as containers are stored for several days while waiting for service of the connecting vessel. Shipping companies are also using transshipment as a way to make better use of their networks; as a result, more ports are served without increasing ship assets.