Every day, millions of tonnes of products are transported by land, sea and air around the world. Much of the cargo that comes into the UK does so by sea, which is not surprising considering we are an island. Equator Worldwide are experts in global logistics and finding solutions to ship around the world.

If you are just beginning to transport goods from one country to another and building a relationship with your new freight company, you may want to take a quick look at the most common terminology.

If you have cargo coming by ship from a particular part of the world, here are the main terms you need to be aware of:

Logistic Terminology – Ports

Ports are normally huge places that are designed to not only accept freight but commercial shipping such as liners and ferries. There are many different areas to your average port, and these are specifically designed for the loading and unloading of certain freight.

Ports will also have storage facilities for different kinds of freight that are waiting on the quayside for their ship to arrive or for local businesses to pick up. There are around 120 commercial ports around the UK, including in major cities such as London and Liverpool.  Felixstowe is the biggest port in the UK and handles around 48% of our containerised freight.

These areas also contain formal customs and excise facilities to check on the cargo going back and forth. These can be tailored for specific areas, for example, whether a ship is coming from Europe or further afield.

Logistic Terminology – Harbours

A harbour is generally a smaller, less commercial area in a town or city. You may find fishing vessels and the odd yacht moored at the quayside, but you probably won’t see any large ships, certainly not in the UK.

That doesn’t mean harbours can’t be used for freight transportation, but they don’t have the customised infrastructure or facilities for storing large amounts of freight. Harbours can also be natural or man-made. The biggest natural harbour can be found in Poole in Dorset.

Logistic Terminology – Terminal

Terminals are normally part of a much larger port and they are often designed for specific types of cargo and sizes of shipping. For freight, this area is also generally linked to customs facilities and near to places where freight can be loaded and off-loaded and stored.

Logistic Terminology – Quays

Quays are generally part of a much larger terminal and allow the port to accept multiple vessels at the same time. You’ll find sheds and offices on the quayside along with multiple staff who are involved in handling freight that passes through the port.

Logistic Terminology – Dock

Docks are also fairly prevalent in any port or harbour. They are a specific location where the ship will come in and moor itself while the cargo is unloaded. There are also more specialist dry docks which are used when vessels require some form of repair. Where a ship is moored is also called a berth.

There’s a lot more terminology relating to the running of any port or harbour which can be confusing but that is why using a global logistics expert like Equator Worldwide is essential to the smooth running of your business.