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Port of Thessaloniki, Greece – Then and Now


Thessalolniki – The City Name

Thessaloniki, a city situated in Northern Greece,  was founded in 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedonia and got its name from Thessaloniki, wife of Cassander and half-sister of Alexander the Great. Her name was given by her father King Phillip II of Macedonia, after his victory over the Phocions with the help of Thessalian horsemen. Thessaloniki means the “victory of the Thessalians”.

Port Of Thessaloniki History

Being founded in 315BC, the city boasts a proud and rich history of 2300 years. The history of the port goes back to the Roman times when a spacious harbour was built and the foundations laid for a thriving city, after they conquered Greece in the year 2BC.

The Port of Thessaloniki became a major Naval centre during this Macedonian rule.  After Constantinople soon took over as the capital in the Byzantine Era, Thessaloniki became the 2nd largest city of the entire empire. It was unfortunately mostly destroyed by the 620AD earthquake.

The town went through several centuries of battles and change of rulers from there, but yet still managed to grown a healthy population and develop a thriving commercial trade. The 5 centuries of Turkish rule that followed in the Ottoman Empire from 1430AD, only served to further develop the commercial trade.

Thessaloniki, at this stage consisting of Greek Orthodox, Muslims and Jews, was set free from the Turks on October 27th, 1912, during the First Balkan War. The modern port became an embryo from there in January 1930 when the “Port Fund of Thessaloniki” was established. The development of new port works began in 1937 but weren’t completed due to the outbreak of World War II.


The Modern Port

The Port of Thessaloniki is one of several that belong to the Core Network of the Trans-European Transport Network and a designated “Port of International Interest”.

Today it plays a key role in international freight transport, and is a vital part of the economic activity in the wider region of Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe through the major trans-European motorway and railway networks. It is also a vastly popular port for cruise lines and ferries plying their tourism trade in the Mediterranean.

The port is run by the Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, so named by the 1970 law when it changes from  the “Free Zone and Port of Thessaloniki”.   The authority listed on the Athens Stock Exchange in 2001, and “handles containers, conventional cargo, operates the free zone of the Port, offers reliable and efficient logistics solutions and intermodal rail services and serves passenger traffic through cruise and ferry”

Thessaloniki Port Association Container Terminal - services

Statistics & Services

The port occupies a total area of 1.5 million m2 and spreads across a length of 3.5 km.

The Port is thriving and in 2023 it handled 16.777.263 tonnes of cargo and 520.048 TEU, making it one of the busiest cargo ports in Greece and the second largest container port in the country.

  • The port offers a Container Terminal in the western area of Pier 6. It is 550m long and 340m wide, extending over a surface area 254,000m2. At present it can accommodate vessels up to a draft of 12m. It has a storage capacity of 5,200TEU
  • Conventional Cargo Handling : The Port of Thessaloniki is the first Conventional Cargo Transit Port of Greece and one of the main ports in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has fourteen (14) quays suitable for all types of bulk and break bulk cargo, all of them connected to the national and international rail networks. The total length of quay walls is 4,200 meters.
  • Cruise and Ferry terminal: Thessaloniki has one of the largest passenger terminals in the Aegean Sea basin, having been constructed between 1909 and 1912. It has facilities for the reception and service of passenger traffic both cruise and ferry.
  • Logistics: Outdoor storage areas and warehouses are available for rent for logistics activities. The ThPA S.A has around 45,000 sqm covered space and 670,000 sqm outdoor storage space.
  • Intermodal Rail Services: From November 27, 2020 offers Intermodal Rail Services with direct rail connectivity between the Port of Thessaloniki and the Company’s dry port in SofiaBulgaria.[18]Additionally, from August 2022, ThPA S.A. offers direct rail connectivity between the Port of Thessaloniki and Nis (Serbia)

Thessaloniki Port Association Map


Thessaloniki is a thriving tourist attraction as a city, and the port is right up there amongst the many attractions to visit within the city. Pier 1, the oldest and first established pier, is home to the Museum of Photography, the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum, the MOMus-Experimental center for the Arts and other points of interest that attract a large number of visitors all year round.


Our Services:

Port of Call Consulting offers a wide range of underwater maintenance services to vessels calling the Port of Thessaloniki. Please contact us with your enquiries via operations@port-of-call.co.za


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