This paper presents a taxonomy and analysis of the content of published research in port economics, policy and management (port studies). The recent increase of these publications suggests a growing interest in the study of ports. However, the research characteristics and directions of this research field are unidentified. This paper provides a systematic analysis of port studies published during the period 1997–2008. A comprehensive cross-citation and analysis of the themes, approaches and findings of all 395 relevant journal papers identifies the extent to which the research field is maturing, and the leading papers. This paper also presents an extensive analysis of the content, based on the classification of all port studies into seven research themes. For each theme, research topics, widely used research questions, concepts and research methods and the most important research findings are discussed. Finally, we identify emerging research challenges and research questions that still need to be answered.