Abstract : This article proposes a quantitative analysis of the interdependencies between port specialization and regional specialization across the world. A global database is elaborated, covering about 360 port regions in both developed and developing countries. One goal is to verify how interdependent port traffic and regional characteristics are, in a context of increasingly flexible commodity and value chains. Despite the aggregated dimension of available data and the heterogeneity of local situations, the main results confirm the affinity between the primary sector and raw materials traffic, and between the tertiary sector and general cargo traffic, whereas the industrial sector offers mixed evidence. This allows us to address fundamental questions raised by both economic geography and regional science about transport and local development. The global typology of port regions points to certain regularities in their spatial distribution, and the article discusses the policy implications of particular cases.