World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Wharf

Long Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, c. 19th century, jutting into Boston Harbor
The Barbours Cut Terminal of the Port of Houston, USA. This cargo shipping terminal has a single large wharf with multiple berths.

A wharf or quay (, also or )[1] is a structure on the shore of a harbor or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers.[2] Such a structure includes one or more berths (mooring locations), and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships.

Contents

  • Overview 1
  • Etymology 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Overview

A wharf commonly comprises a fixed platform, often on pilings. Commercial ports may have warehouses that serve as interim storage areas, since the typical objective is to unload and reload vessels as quickly as possible. Where capacity is sufficient a single wharf with a single berth constructed along the land adjacent to the water is normally used; where there is a need for more capacity multiple wharves, or perhaps a single large wharf with multiple berths, will instead be constructed, sometimes projecting into the water. A pier, raised over the water rather than within it, is commonly used for cases where the weight or volume of cargos will be low.

Smaller and more modern wharves are sometimes built on flotation devices (pontoons) to keep them at the same level as the ship, even during changing tides.

In everyday parlance the term quay is common in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many other Commonwealth countries, and the Republic of Ireland, whereas the term wharf is more common in the United States. In some contexts wharf and quay may be used to mean pier, berth, or jetty.

In old ports such as London (which once had around 1700 wharves [3]) many old wharves have been converted to residential or office use.

Etymology

The word wharf comes from the Old English hwearf, meaning "bank" or "shore", and its plural is either wharfs or wharves; collectively a group of these is referred to as a wharfing or wharfage. "Wharfage" also refers to a fee charged by ports for the cargo handled there.

In the northeast and east of England the term staithe or staith (from the Norse for landing stage) is also used. For example Dunston Staiths in Gateshead and Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk. However, the term staithe may also be used to refer only to loading chutes or ramps used for bulk commodities like coal in loading ships and barges. It has been suggested that wharf actually is an acronym for ware-house at river front,[4][5] but it is actually a backronym created by Thames river boat guides.

Another explanation may be that the word wharf comes from the Saxon word "warft" or the Dutch word "werf" which both mean "yard", an outdoor place where work is done, like a shipyard (Dutch: scheepswerf) or a lumberyard (Dutch: houtwerf). This could explain the name Ministry Wharf located at Saunderton, just outside High Wycombe, which is nowhere near any body of water. In support of this explanation is the fact that many places in England with "wharf" in their names are in areas with a high Dutch influence, for example the Norfolk broads.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Quay - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  2. ^ "Quay". American Heritage Dictionary/Dictionary.com. Retrieved 8 Feb 2010. 
    "Wharf". American Heritage Dictionary/Dictionary.com. Retrieved 8 Feb 2010. 
  3. ^ Craig, Charles; Diprose, Graham; Seaborne, Mike (2009). London's Changing Riverscape. London: Frances Lincoln Ltd.  
  4. ^ "Chav... [page 4]". London-se1.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Word wharf meaning. Word wharf definition. Free crossword dictionary". Wordnavigator.com. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 

External links

  • The dictionary definition of wharf at Wiktionary
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.