City, Port, Port Authority. All with a common denominator: Cartagena.
The history of the port and the city have always gone hand in hand. Already in Roman times the port of Cartago Nova contributed to the splendor of the city while maintaining an important commercial activity of import and export of goods with Africa and Rome, and providing, in the military field, the main war depot for the expeditions of Roman conquest and repression. In the Byzantine era, the port of Cartagena and its arsenal were key in the military operations between the Imperials and Visigoths. The resurgence of the city between the 8th and 13th centuries, under Arab domination, had much to do with the arsenal of Mandarache, the port and its shipyards, which helped the Muslims prepare their expeditions to fight and conquer all over the Mediterranean.
In the Middle Ages, Alfonso X created the Order of Santa Maria of Spain for the naval defense of the Crown of Castile and established his main headquarters in Cartagena, using the port to strengthen the trade relations of Castile with the western Mediterranean. And from the reign of the Catholic Kings the military character of the port and the city intensified, which accompanies us until now. The shipping industry, together with all ancillary offices, for centuries was the most important activity that made the economy, population, and the city grow.
At the end of the 19th century, the port was transformed with the construction of the dams of Curra and Navidad and the Alfonso XII dock, providing a significant boost to maritime trade, which together with the mining activities of La Union provided great economic wealth to the city, which grew and was embellished with magnificent buildings erected by the most prestigious architects of the time. In the second half of the 20th century, the first oil refinery in Spain was installed in the Valle de Escombreras and the first docks were built in Escombreras harbor. In a few years, the industrial activity of the Valle de Escombreras and traffic on the docks of that harbor grew and transformed this place, which in the 21st century has become the most important industrial concentration in the Region of Murcia; it generates thousands of jobs and has a great economic impact on the city of Cartagena and in the Region of Murcia.
Cartagena’s future is undoubtedly closely linked to the future of its port, and the men and women who make up the Port of Cartagena every day work with enthusiasm and perseverance for that future.