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A harbor or harbour (see spelling differences), or haven, is a place where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or else are stored for future use. Harbors can be man-made or natural. A man-made harbor has deliberately-constructed breakwaters, sea walls, or jettys, or otherwise, they could have been constructed by dredging, and these require maintenace by further periodic dredging. An example of the former kind is at Long Beach Harbor, California, and an example of the latter kind is San Diego Harbor, California, which was, under natural conditions, too shallow for modern merchant ships and warships.

In contrast, a natural harbor is surrounded on several sides by prominences of land. An example of this kind of harbor is San Francisco Bay, California.

Harbors and ports are often confused with each other. A port is a man-made sea coast, lakeshore, or river shore facility where ships, boats, and/or barges have loading and unloading procedutes carried out, including those for passengers or livestock. A port may consist of piers, docks, quays, wharves, jettys, and/or slipways, all of which can have cargo cranes, grain elevators, ramps, and/or bulk-cargo handling machinery utiling conveyor belts built upon them. For example, very long conveyor belts are used for loading and unloading coal or ores to/from ships and barges. Furthermore, ports may have equipment for loading or unloading petroleum or other liquid cargos to/from tankers.

Ports often have warehouses and other buildings for the storage and distribution of goods, or have magazine buildings for naval ordinance and other explosives. There are also ground transportation systems that connect the port with inland locations, such as railroad terminals, truck terminals, and/or pipeline terminals for carrying goods and materials to and from the port.

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Artificial harbors

Artificial harbors are frequently built for use as ports. The largest artificially created harbor is in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the Port of Rotterdam. Other large and busy artificial harbors are located in Houston, Texas, Long Beach, California, and San Pedro, California.

Natural harbors

A natural harbor in Vizhinjam, India

A natural harbor is a landform where a part of a body of water is protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage. Natural harbors have long been of great naval strategy and economic importance. Many of the great cities of the world are located on natural harbors. Having a protected harbor reduces or eliminates the use of breakwaters as it will result in calmer waves inside the harbor.

Ice-free harbors

For harbors near the North and South Poles, being ice-free is an important advantage, especially when it is year-round. Examples of these include Murmansk, Russia; Petsamo, Russia, formerly in Finland); Vladivostok, Russia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Hammerfest, Norway; Vardø, Norway; and Prince Rupert Harbour, Canada. The world's southmost harbor, locted at Antarctica's Winter Quarters Bay (77° 50′ South), is potentially ice-free, depending on the summertime pack ice conditions.[1]

Tidal harbor

A tidal harbor is a type of harbor that can only be entered or exited at certain tidal levels.[2]

Important harbors

The tiny harbour at the village of Clovelly, Devon, England

Although the world's busiest port is a hotly contested title, in 2006 the world's busiest harbor by cargo tonnage was the Port of Shanghai.[3]

The following are large natural harbors:

Capri harbour, Italy seen from Anacapri

Other notable harbors include:

See also

Notes

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Simple English

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Harbour means to shelter or keep safe. A harbor (or harbour) is a place where ships may shelter. A port is also a harbour, but is usually bigger. The port will often contain a water space with wave breakers around the edge, a number of quays or piers where the ships may be moored or tied up and a transport system for taking goods inland. Often railway and road transport will be used. Other ways that goods can be moved are pipeline transport and by using smaller ships on rivers.

During the D-Day operations of 1944, two artificial harbours (named mulberry) were built just off the beaches where the invasion was going to happen.

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