The increasing global cargo traffic is rendering many of the world’s seaports obsolete.

The answer to the lack of effective space and the congestion that it is causing consist of building spaces inland.

We are talking about what is known as dry ports. In the following lines we are going to analyze these infrastructures, answer questions such as what is a dry port, its purpose or how a dry port works.

What are dry ports?

There is no common consensus as to the exact definition of dry ports. However, the two most common are Lévêque’s and Camarero‘s definitions.

Lévêque defines them as a seaport directly connected with inland intermodal terminals, where users can deliver or pick up their goods in intermodal loading units as if they were in a seaport.

Camarero, on the other hand, describes them as an intermodal freight terminal located in a country’s inland that is directly connected both to the ports and to the origin and destination of its cargoes by rail.

While you can find that dry ports are usually connected to seaports by rail, they are also, in many cases, connected by road.

👉 Find out: Types of containers used in International shipping

What is the purpose of dry ports?

Dry ports were created to reduce the congestion in seaports due to increased maritime transport of goods.

As a result, many seaports have become obsolete due to a lack of space to operate and several difficulties to expand their infrastructure because of their geographical location.

By being located inland, dry ports have become a complement to seaports, facilitating the transport of goods and allowing them to operate at a higher capacity without compromising the environmental impact of the place where they are located.

Differences between dry ports and logistics platforms

If we only pay attention to the definition, it is easy to confuse the terms “dry port” and “logistics platform”.

However, only dry ports have customs clearance and provide customs services. In addition, dry ports usually use a single intermodal transport unit (IUL), such as standardized sea containers, which is not the case for logistics platforms.

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How customs works in a dry port

Customs in a dry port works in the same way as in a seaport.

They carry out the same checks, formalities, and paperwork as in seaports.

Because of that, customs formalities in seaports are minimal.

The world’s main dry ports

Among the dozens of dry ports spread around the world, there are five that stand out for the amount of work they can handle on a daily basis. These are:

Chengdu International Railway Port

Located in China, more precisely in the city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in south-west China, it is the main dry port in China.

It is not only one of the largest intermodal facilities in Asia, but also in the world.

Duisburg Intermodal Terminal

Located in Duisburg, Germany, at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers near Düsseldorf, it is the most important intermodal facility in the Ruhr area and the largest dry port in Europe.

Khorgos Gateway

Located on the border between Kazakhstan and China, it is the largest dry port in Central Asia and an important part of the Silk Belt and Road Initiative.

Tánger Med

Based in the Moroccan town of Tangier, close to the border with Europe, it is the largest dry port in Africa and one of the most important transport hubs for trade between Europe and Africa.

Kansas City SmartPort

Located in Kansas City, U.S.A., it is the most significant dry port in the United States and a key transportation hub for trade throughout North America.

Other major dry ports in the world are: the Dry Port of Inland Container Depot of Delhi in India, the Brest Dry Port of Belarus, the Inland Port Greer of South Carolina in the United States, the Dry Port of Paldiski of Estonia and the Tanjung Priok of Indonesia.

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