international Transport(ports & airports)


Ports are usually controlled by port authorities. These may be owned by the state such as Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, a public corporation owned by a government investment organization called Temasek. They may be owned by private companies. Shanghai is operated by Shanghai International Port Group Co Ltd and the port in the Dubai is owned by Dubai Ports World. Durban and Cape town are owned by Transnet, a transport, ports and pipeline company. They may be owned by city councils such as Southampton. Rotterdam is owned 75% by the city and 25% by the Dutch government.

Ports should be situated where there is permanent deep water. They need to be protected from natural sea hazards such as storms and typhoons. Some Ports may be naturally safe – situated in bays or behind islands such as Sydney. Some must be protected by elaborate sea walls such as Cherbourg in France.

It is important to have good facilities at ports so that goods can be moved swiftly into and out of a country. Good facilities, especially for handling containers, will attract foreign shipping and so will earn foreign currency for the country.

Ports should be able to handle ships of different sizes. Seaports are points of entry to a country. Customs officials will need to operate there to control the movement of people and also of goods to collect import duties on dutiable goods.


Services provided at seaports

  • Clear waterways and marked channels. There may be need for extensive dredging and the removal of debris and oil and protecting the environment of the port. Navigational aids such as lighthouses and market buoys may be needed to indicate sand banks and rocks.
  • Tugs and pilots for moving ships especially if the port is situated upriver or in a narrow sea channel.
  • Wharves with cranes, gantries and dock labor to load and unload cargo and containers. There may be a need for specialized equipment for particular cargoes. The port in St Louis, Mauritius has terminals for handling sugar, wheat, oil and cement in bulk.
  • Container terminals with special handling equipment for containers.
  • Warehousing for ordinary cargo, cold storage for perishable cargo and bonded warehouses for dutiable goods until duty has been paid.
  • Outside storage area for stacked containers and for cargo such as cars awaiting loading.
  • Repair facilities with wet and dry docks.
  • Fuel and provisioning for ships such as cruise liners.
  • Good transport inland. There must be access by road and probably rail to and from the docks for moving passengers and moving goods. There port at Walvis Bay in Namibia has been specially developed to provide a strong transport link into Southern Africa. Rail and road links exist to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. There is a guaranteed three-day clearance time for containers in the port. There is also an Export Processing Zone and a Freeport within the port. The port is located so that several shipping days can be saved on journeys from America and Europe to other Southern African ports such as Cape town and Durban.
  • Facilities where customs and immigration can operate.
  • Office space for the port authority as well as companies such as shipping companies and forwarding agents.
  • Security services such as dock police and fire services.
  • Maintenance of roads and rails tracks within the port area.
  • Parking area for cars and trucks loading and unloading.
  • Passenger terminal including restrooms, restaurants, car parking, waiting areas, information desks, lounges and shops.
  • Ferry terminal including if ferries operate from the port.




Airports range from freshly grown grass in a farmer’s field to complex airports like Jinnah Airport in Karachi, Pakistan. They may have a single runway with a departure lounge in a grass hut. They may have many runways and several airport terminal buildings like Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Airports are usually operated by airport authorities. They are responsible for the management of the airport and for the maintenance of airport services. These airport authorities may be state- owned. The Maldives Airports Co Ltd, a government owned company with a Board of Directors appointed by the president manages Male International Airport as well as four other domestic airports. They may be privately owned. British Airports Authority, the world’s leading airport company, responsible for both Heathrow and Gatwick as four other British airports is owned by Ferrovial, a Spanish company, who bought BBA in 2006. The Airports Company of the South Africa manages many South African airports.

Airports need to be as near to city centres as possible so that passengers and cargo can reach centres of population as quickly as possible. They also need to be situated where dangers can be avoided. Many crashes take on take off or landing. There also needs to be a good level runway space as far from buildings and hills as possible. Although many airports such as Sarajevo airport in Bosnia are surrounded by mountains, it is safer if airports can be located on flat land, e.g. Perth Airport in Australia. Many airports are located by the sea, e.g. Changi Airport in Singapore, so that aircraft can take off over the sea. This helps to cut down noise and other pollution as well as being safer for densely populated areas.




  • Aircraft hangars to store aircraft and for repairs and maintenance.
  • Air traffic control.
  • Refuelling services.
  • Food preparation services.
  • Fire services.
  • Security services.
  • High speed road or rail links or both between the airport and the city centre. A new station on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground (which already links with Heathrow Airport) is planned for terminal 5.
  • Office accommodation.
  • Facilities for customs and immigration as well as a quarantine area for animals.
  • Measures to protect the environment around the airport and reduce the impact of the airport on the surrounding area- reduce noise levels.


  • Check – in facilities.
  • Luggage handling and trolleys.
  • Luggage carsousels where people can retrieve luggage.
  • Lounges and seating.
  • Information screens and desks.
  • Facilities for the disabled.
  • Medical facilities.
  • Walkways and passenger boarding bridges sometimes called jetways or hubs.
  • Car hire counters.
  • Shops including duty free shops.
  • Restaurants, snack bars and bars.
  • Currency exchanges.
  • Post office.
  • Airline desks.
  • Pick up and set down points for passengers.
  • Transit hotels for passengers who are between flights.
  • Immigration facilities.
  • Short – term and long – term car parking.
  • Security such as X – ray machines to survey hand luggage.
  • Aircraft steps and walk – in corridors to planes.



  • Secure warehousing.
  • Baggage Trolleys.
  • Container handling equipment.
  • Customs inspection.
  • Lifting gear.
  • Bonded warehouses.
  • Parking and outside storage areas for cargo.
  • Vans and lorries.

Security is now very important issue at airports because of the dangers of terrorism. Many precautions are taken such as restricted access to departure lounges, x – ray machines to check hand luggage, security staff to check passengers, sniffer dogs to look for drugs and weapons, metal detectors, armed police and checks on luggage.

Contributor: Jumana