What word could describe an operation of either importing or exporting?

X is to import and export as migration is to immigration and emigration.

Porting isn't the word I'm looking for, I don't think, but that's what I'm getting at. Cheers!

  • 2
    International commerce? In the USA, a business like that is called an import/export business. – John Lawler Dec 13 '13 at 21:00
  • 12
    how about trade? – Mitch Dec 13 '13 at 21:15
  • 3
    Art Vandelay. – RegDwigнt Dec 13 '13 at 21:17
  • 1
    @Mitch I'd say make that an answer. That's as right as right can be. – Patrick87 Dec 13 '13 at 23:22
  • Do you mean the noun or the verb? – Pitarou Dec 14 '13 at 1:59

The right comparative, admittedly obscure, word is portation, not porting.

OED: the act of carrying or transferring.

  • Thanks! Would the hypernym of importer and exporter be porter? – Nick Strupat Dec 16 '13 at 14:55
  • No - that would be portation once again. – user49727 Dec 17 '13 at 0:17
  • Wouldn't it be portator or something? – Nick Strupat Dec 19 '13 at 20:17
  • Perhaps, if there were good enough reasons. – user49727 Dec 21 '13 at 15:27
  • @NickStrupat - I would say that would just be a transporter. – Xavon_Wrentaile Jul 30 '17 at 1:53

As noted earlier, a more precise word will depend on the context:

  • in the context of international commerce, import and export are both forms of international trade
  • in the context of a single business, import and export are both forms of transport of goods or services (usually to or from a different country, but not always)
  • in the context of software systems, import and export are usually both forms of integration between software systems, or in a somewhat more general sense, data transfer (or, less frequently, data transport)

Combining suggestions:

International trade

because import and export are by definition trade between countries.


As I just posted on another question that references this one:

Conveyance - the action or process of transporting or carrying someone or something from one place to another.

This is completely applicable to the import and export of items between countries and borders.


inout is in current use to mean the export/import of data

Elasticsearch InOut Plugin ..(P)rovides the ability to export data by query on server side, by outputting the data directly on the according node... The exported data can also be imported into elasticsearch again. https://github.com/crate/elasticsearch-inout-plugin


One word to include Import/Export? What about the term "Commercial" which refers to commerce which in turn means "the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place," according to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: 10th Edition (1993).

  • 1
    "Commercial" isn't a noun, so isn't really what is requested. look a the first comment on this question to see the noun form of commercial – Matt E. Эллен May 26 '15 at 7:30

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