Ports are points of convergence between two geographical domains of freight circulation (sometimes passengers); the land and maritime domains. While the maritime domain can involve substantial geographical coverage related to global trade, the land domain is related to the port’s region and locality. The term port comes from the Latin portus, which means gate or gateway. Historically, ports emerged as safe harbors for fishing and those with convenient locations became trade hubs, many of which of free access and designed to protect trade. As such, they became nexus of urbanization with several becoming the first port cities playing an important role in the economic welfare of their regions. Today, many of the most important cities in the world owe their origin to their port location. The port is a Multidimensional entity at start anchored within geography, but also dependent on its operations, governance structure and embedded within supply chains.
As terminals, ports handle the largest amounts of freight, more than any other type of terminals combined. To handle this freight, port infrastructures jointly have to accommodate transshipment activities both on ships and inland and thus facilitate convergence between land transport and maritime systems. In many parts of the world, ports are the points of convergence from which inland transport systems, particularly rail, were laid. Most ports, especially those that are ancient, owe their initial emergence to their site as the great majority of harbors are taking advantages.