Ports

The role of ports in the global economy

Ports are maritime commercial facilities usually located on a coast or shore that contains one or more harbours where ships can dock and transfer cargo as well as people. Ports constitute a major component of the global transportation sector and are linked to the expanding world economy. In other words, ports are a means of integration into the global economic system.

As the WTO-agreements since the 1980s lifted several pre-existing international trade barriers, manufacturers all over the world vertically disintegrated their production systems into geographically dispersed and flexibly organised supply chain systems . The international trade regime began allowing manufacturers to relocate their production and assembly plants to more cost-efficient locations in developing economies.

Ports have been at the hearts of commerce for centuries and they only kept gaining more significance . Before the invention of aeroplanes, sea had been the main mode of transport for settlers, travellers and migrants for centuries. They played important roles in the industrial revolutions and act as a catalyst to industrialisation. While early ports were mostly used as harbours, today they are more often referred to multi-modal distribution hubs having transport links using sea, river, canal, road, rail and air routes.

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