Port of Baku

History

Port of Baku is the oldest port in the Caspian Sea and has existed through many historical periods of Azerbaijani state building. For centuries, Port of Baku served as a link between East and West, alongside the ancient Silk Road, as well as North-South transport corridor that connects North Europe and Russia with Middle East and South Asia. Later this route was used by Russian, European, Indian, and other foreign traders. Over 20 Indian caravans travelled alongside the route from Ardabil to Baku in 1703 who exported silk, oil, fish, animal fur, copper, horses, natural dyes, caviar and leather. 
In the middle of the fifteenth century, a new trade route was explored between Volga-Don and the Caspian Sea trade route that connected Eastern Europe and India. This stipulates the importance of today’s Port of Baku in Caspian trade, as well as a major centre in wider international maritime trade. Official references to Port of Baku date back to 1564, although maritime trade had been one of the city’s major activities in previous centuries. In 1564, by a decree of Safavid Emperor Shah Tahmasp I, Sheikh Zahid was appointed as the First Minister of Port of Baku.
On 17th September 1854, by a decree of Russian Emperor Nicholas I, Port of Baku was restructured into a military maritime port. From that time onwards, Port of Baku started to function not only as a trade port, but also as a military centre to protect the sea borders from outside influence. Starting from 1858, ships from the Caspian Flotilla of the Russian Empire were based in Port of Baku. The depth of coastal waters, favourable weather conditions and nearby oilfields made its location the most preferable as a navy base.
Construction of the modern Port of Baku started in the mid-nineteenth century under the Russian Empire, and it was officially inaugurated as a self-governing port on 21st July 1902. It was among the world’s leading ports and the largest of the Russian Empire in terms of cargo and passenger traffic. Various types of dry cargo such as cotton, fruit and sugar, were among some of the main trade goods at Port of Baku and other ports on the Caspian Sea such as Astrakhan, Krasnovodsk (today’s Turkmenbashi), Petrovsk (today’s Makhachkala) and Iranian ports. Already by 1900, annual cargo traffic had reached 6.5 million tonnes (around 400 million Russian ‘poods’) and the port served a total of 157,779 passengers in 1912. The Russian Empire also took advantage of the transit potential of Port of Baku with around 38.1 million ‘poods’ passing through Port of Baku as cargo in transit.
In June to August 1920, as a result of an oil boom, a lot of construction in Port of Baku was carried out to provide safe passage for oil tankers. In 1923 to 1924, trade through Port of Baku comprised 27.3% of the total for cargo in the whole of the Soviet Union. This made Port of Baku the leading port of the Soviet Union. 
Port of Baku also took an active part in protecting state borders in the Second World War. Large amount of cargo was handled in Port of Baku within a very short period of time in order to reach the frontlines in time. In three months in 1942, the amount of cargo grew more than twice from 187,200 to 445,800 tonnes.
After the Second World War, extensive construction work had to be done to restore the former state of Port of Baku. In 1963, a new ferry terminal was commissioned, followed by the construction of a dedicated berth for passenger services. In 1972, a new passenger terminal building was also completed. 
After gaining independence, the Republic of Azerbaijan established close economic relations with neighbouring countries. In 1998, Baku city held an international conference on the ‘Historic Silk Road’ in order to revive this ancient trade route and create the foundations for further processes of integration with the countries involved.
President Ilham Aliyev has determined that a major state policy goal should be to use the transit potential of the country, pointing to Port of Baku as a key strategic project in the diversification of the economy that will become a main non-oil sector project generating the second greatest share of budget revenues. On 18th of March, 2015, the Port of Baku was restructured by a decree of President Ilham Aliyev and became a close joint stock company (CJSC). Currently, Port of Baku is taking steps to become a regional transport and logistics hub in Eurasia. The New Port at Alyat is now under construction. By the end of the third stage of construction, the New Port is planned to be able to handle 25 million tonnes of cargo and one million TEU in containers.

Green port

Port of Baku is not only targeting economic interests. We believe that when the economy and ecology work hand-in-hand, much greater work efficiency can be achieved. Aiming to become the most environmentally friendly port in the region, the Port will operate in...

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Here you will find the history of the port since 1564...