The Port of Ploče was first mentioned on 6 November 1387, but the building of a larger port was done in recent modern times. Work on the present day harbour first began in 1939  but was destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in 1945 and the village of Ploče grew up to 480 inhabitants in 1948. After the Adriatic road and Neretva railway lines were built to the port in the mid-1960s, the town experienced a steady growth.
Bosnia and Croatia are currently in negotiations as regards the establishment of a "privileged economic zone" for Bosnian businesses within the Ploče port facilities, though this development is hindered by the opposition of local government, and Croatian people to the concept of a partial loss of sovereignty over the port. The Bosnian government would like a concession, with sovereignty features, for at least 99 years, whereas the Croatian government only wishes to offer commercial passage through Croatian territory for Bosnian and Herzegovinian goods. This topic was a subject of lengthy negotiations; easier passage for Croatian citizens through the narrow strip of Bosnia and Herzegovina territory (that divides Croatia's land territory) near Neum, in exchange for privileges for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Ploče. The proposed building of a bridge through Croatian territory (the Pelješac Bridge), bypassing Neum and Bosnian territory completely may solve this problem for Croatia, although this proposal is currently being strongly resisted by the Bosnian government.