The Adriatic-Ionian area occupies a very strategic position between three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Furthermore, it has a key position along trade routes of major global importance. A number of recent trends such as globalization and growth in international and intercontinental trade, the opening up of eastern Europe and the rerouting of intra-European trade flows provides a new opportunity for the development of the Adriatic Sea ports and for the re-definition of their roles as critical nodal points within the wider area transport network. The aim of this paper is research and analysis of the possibility of redefining the roles of all ports in the observed area with particular attention to all possible transport specializations and cooperation agreements. The above mentioned will be achieved by defining quality labels and indicators.