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Role of a port

Image supplied courtesy of Port of Melbourne Corporation. 

A port is a key business in Australia's economy. It provides the link between sea transportation and land freight. A port is a place where cargoes are transferred between ships and trucks and/or railway wagons.

A port provides storage areas on land, sheds, wharfs, piers, ship channels and arrangements for ships to dock. It has the correct equipment for ships to load and unload their cargoes safely.

Find out about all the other services provided by ports on this website.


A ship must arrive at the correct place in the port where its new cargo is either waiting to be loaded or where its cargo can be unloaded.

The faster the ship can get out of the port, the more money the ship owner will save.

There may be a need to load fuel, food and water. Rubbish and oily sludge may need to be placed into proper disposal containers.  

A port has equipment to help transport the cargo to storage areas. The cargo will be stored until trains, trucks or other ships can transport it to its next destination.

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