port, a natural or artificial harbor and its terminal facilities for the transfer of goods and passengers to or from waterborne means of transport. Port cities are located on oceans, lakes, rivers, and canals in places where access to the hinterland provides a large volume of commerce. The importance of a port depends on the availability of transportation and on the extent of terminal facilities such as wharfs, storage space, and machinery. See also free port.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.