Port of Latakia
|Port of Latakia
Port of Latakia in 1979
|Opened||Ancient harbor: 2000 BC
Modern harbor: 1951
|Operated by||Public Company of the Port of Latakia|
|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)|
|General Manager||Suleiman Asaad Baloush|
|Channel depth||14.5 metres (48 ft)|
|Warehouse space||62.8 hectares (0.242 sq mi)|
|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. Rome regarded Laodicea as a key strategic seaport in the prized province of Syria.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
In 2008, the port handled about 8 million tonnes of cargo.
- * figures in millions of tonnes
- Ball, 2000, p.157
- Ring, 1994, p.451
- Ring, 1994, p.453
- Ring, 1994, p.454
- Ring, 1994, p.455
- Maʻoz, 1986, p.58
- Official figures
- Ring, Trudy; Salkin, Robert M.; La Boda, Sharon (1994), International Dictionary of Historic Places, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-1-884964-03-9.
- Ball, Warwick (2000), Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-11376-2.
- Maʻoz, Moshe; Yaniv, Avner; Gustav Heinemann Institute of Middle Eastern Studies (1986), Syria Under Assad: Domestic Constraints and Regional Risks, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-7099-2910-2.