Port cities are the nodes of distribution networks. Each typically combines a hinterland market, including the city, with distant markets and production sites reached by shipping. Not all port cities, however, have developed in the same way. Three development models predominate and, between them, emphasize inner-city quays, dock extensions, market systems, destination logistics and relations between port cities as part of a network. These Western-biased theories attempt to explain, but fall short of fully understanding, the evolution of port cities and their present and future role.