Port of Latakia

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Port of Latakia
ميناء اللاذقية
Lattaquie port 1979.jpg
Port of Latakia in 1979
Country Syria
Location Latakia
Latakia Governorate
Coordinates 35°30′48″N 35°46′14″E / 35.51333°N 35.77056°E / 35.51333; 35.77056Coordinates: 35°30′48″N 35°46′14″E / 35.51333°N 35.77056°E / 35.51333; 35.77056
Opened Ancient harbor: 2000 BC
Modern harbor: 1951
Operated by Public Company of the Port of Latakia
Owned by State-owned
Type of harbor Natural
Size of harbor 135 hectares (0.52 sq mi)
Land area 15 hectares (0.058 sq mi)
Size 150 hectares (0.58 sq mi)
Wharfs 32
General Manager Suleiman Asaad Baloush
Cranes 18
Channel depth 14.5 metres (48 ft)
Warehouse space 62.8 hectares (0.242 sq mi)
Vessel arrivals 1805
Annual cargo tonnage 8,093,000

The Port of Latakia (Arabic: ميناء اللاذقية‎) is the main seaport in Syria. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in the city of Latakia. The port is the main route in Syria for containers, though it also handles a good deal of metals, machinery, chemicals and food stuffs. In 2004, 5.1m tonnes were unloaded and 1m tonnes were loaded from Latakia port. New quay investments are under way in the port. The port is managed by a semi-autonomous state company.



The port was first founded as a harbor of Ramitha, a Phoenician settlement, that was the main harbor of nearby Ugarit. The port of Laodicea gained importance under the Seleucids and it became the main harbor for Syria, and only second to Seleucia.[1] Rome regarded Laodicea as a key strategic seaport in the prized province of Syria.[2]

Under the Crusaders Latakia which became known as "La Liche", covered an area of 220 hectares (0.85 sq mi). Its port, originally an open bay with marble quay stones laid by the Romans, remained an important commercial center.[3]

In later centuries, Latakia started losing its prominence and was already declining as other ports such as Tripoli and Alexandria developed. The port was in a serious state of decline by 1450.[4]

Under the Ottomans and despite losing its prominence as an important town, the port itself continued to remain extremely active and economically valuable. The port was receiving more than 100 ships annually in 1835 but the harbor itself was silted up and could only contain between four or six small boats. By the end of the nineteenth century it received around 120 steamships and around 570 sail boats annually, most of which could only anchor outside of the harbor itself.[4]


Under the French mandate, mandate authorities quickly set about restoring the port facilities by rebuilding the north and south moles and deepening the harbor from two to six meters.[4] With the loss of the ports of Alexandretta and Antioch to Turkey in 1939, Latakia became the main port in Syria, and there remained no alternative but to develop its port facilities.[5]

An extensive port project was proposed in 1948, and construction work began in 1950, with a $6 million loan from Saudi Arabia. By 1951 the first stage of the construction was completed and the port handled an increasing amount of Syria's overseas trade. The port became even more important after 1975, due to the troubled situation in Lebanon and the loss of Beirut and Tripoli as ports.[5] In 1971, the port handled 1,630,000 tons of cargo. During the 1970s the port was expanded, and in 1981 it handled 3,593,000 tons of imported goods and 759,000 of exports.[6]

General statistics[edit]

In 2008, the port handled about 8 million tonnes of cargo.

General statistics between 2002-2008 [7]
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Imports * 3.644 3.871 5.083 6.239 6.931 6.349 6.800
Exports * 0.905 0.996 1.019 1.083 1.162 1.471 1.262
* figures in millions of tonnes


  1. ^ Ball, 2000, p.157
  2. ^ Ring, 1994, p.451
  3. ^ Ring, 1994, p.453
  4. ^ a b c Ring, 1994, p.454
  5. ^ a b Ring, 1994, p.455
  6. ^ Maʻoz, 1986, p.58
  7. ^ Official figures