Understanding the Meaning and Significance of Harbours

Explore the world of harbours and learn about their importance in trade, transportation, and economic development. Discover iconic harbours and their significance in global commerce.


Harbours play a crucial role in connecting lands and facilitating trade and transportation across the globe. They serve as a safe haven for ships, providing shelter from rough seas and serving as docking stations for vessels of all sizes. In this article, we will delve into the meaning and significance of harbours in our world.

What is a Harbour?

A harbour is a body of water where ships, boats, and other vessels can find shelter, load and unload cargo, and embark on journeys. Harbours can be natural or man-made, and they often have facilities such as docks, piers, and warehouses to support maritime activities.

The Significance of Harbours

Harbours are vital for various reasons:

  • Trade – Harbours serve as gateways for international trade, enabling the exchange of goods between nations.
  • Transportation – Harbours are essential for transporting people and goods across oceans and seas.
  • Economic Development – Harbours can boost local economies by creating jobs and attracting investments.

Examples of Iconic Harbours

Some of the world’s most famous harbours include:

  • Sydney Harbour, Australia
  • Port of Shanghai, China
  • Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Port of Singapore

Case Study: Port of Singapore

The Port of Singapore is one of the busiest harbours in the world, handling millions of containers and tons of cargo each year. Its strategic location and state-of-the-art facilities have made it a key hub for global trade.

Statistics on Harbours

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 80% of global trade by volume and over 70% by value is carried by sea. This highlights the critical role that harbours play in facilitating international commerce.


Harbours are more than just bodies of water – they are lifelines for global trade and transportation. Understanding the meaning and significance of harbours helps us appreciate the impact they have on our interconnected world.

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