In Sean’s Ships: Bringing the World Together, Sean and Robot are on a mission to sell custard creams across the world and with the help of the Captain, have been learning all about ships and world trade.
In this series of Sean’s Ships we’ve been learning all about international trade – that’s the way different countries exchange stuff. A bit like the way you might trade things with friends in Minecraft.
Today we’re learning all about PORTS!
What is a Port?
A shipping port is a place where ships load and unload products. There are many different types of ports. Inland Ports are located on rivers, lakes or canals – sometimes many miles from the sea, like Manchester which had a port until 1982. Seaports are ports connected to the open sea. Cargo Ports are where big ships like container ships and oil tankers dock.
Before the invention of container ships, goods were carried around the world on ships of many sizes and designs. Some were specialised for foods, like live animals and fruits; others would hold a variety of smaller loads all jumbled together, and so when a ship was unloaded by dockers known as stevedores, many were required to carry goods to different warehouses.
Transporting goods in containers makes that all much easier and quicker. Containers will be filled at the factory where the goods are made and delivered ready for shipping. A container ship can carry thousands of containers, all with different things inside them. The very largest can carry over 23,000 containers. Now, if that was a train, it would be 44 miles long!
How do ports know where each container should go?
Each container which arrives on a ship has a code on it which helps identification.
Terminal tractors move containers from beside the ship to a storage yard where they wait for the next part of their journey. This means that they need to be put in the correct order and computers help work this out. New technology means that computers can automatically perform tasks without anyone present.