In Argentina, the Port of Buenos Aires serves as the main port to the country. This city is rich in history, and the port has developed alongside the town over many years. We take a closer look at the history of this port, up to where we are today.
The Founding of Buenos Aires Port
The Port of Buenos Aires was founded many years ago, back in 1580, by the Spanish Navy. Back then, it was nothing more than a natural harbour, and there was minimal infrastructure. The water was also relatively shallow, which meant that the larger merchant ships visiting the city had to anchor offshore and use smaller boats to reach land.
The Start of the Port’s Development
City bosses understood that in order to make Argentina a more effective trading nation, they needed to upgrade Buenos Aires Port. To do this, they hired a British engineer and former ICE president, Sir John Hawkshaw, to design a new and improved port. Work started on the port in 1884, on a four-dock complex. In 1889, the first dock was opened, but work was delayed just after that by the major financial crisis known as ‘the Panic of 1890’. The dock complex was eventually completed in 1897.
The Port Grows and Milestones are Reached
Buenos Aires Port continued to grow to keep up with demand. British Engineer, Sir Brodie Haldane Henderson, was tasked with the construction of a southern dock (Dock Sud) in 1911. This new development had 10,000ft (around 3km) of quays and also included a refrigeration plant. 1911 also saw the construction of a breakwater and more space for ships to berth and unload their cargo. This was complete and opened in 1925 and made the Port of Buenos Aires the largest port in the southern hemisphere.
Cruise Ships and Redevelopment
As the port continued to grow, so did the surrounding areas. A cruise terminal was added, bringing many tourists to the city every year. The area around the port has also been regenerated and re-established, providing offices, shops, restaurants, university campuses, hotels and lofts, and attracting a number of both young professionals and retirees. In fact, the area of Puerto Madero is representative of one of the largest wide-scale urban projects in Buenos Aires, and the impressive revival that it has undergone in the space of only a decade is one of the most successful waterfront renewal projects in the world.
This port has had its challenges, and so far, it has managed to overcome those and continue to thrive! We’ll be keeping an eye on its progress. This is definitely a city to add to your maritime bucket list.
Puerto Madero: By Stanley Wood – Buenos Aires – 142, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10189827
Aerial view: By Pepe Robles – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1051795
Boats anchored in 1880: By Archivo Casa Witcomb – Archivo General de la Nación Argentina, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26077591