Port Life

Located between land and sea, the port is a gateway to the world and sees the arrival and departure of countless ships from every continent.


Given the technical advances in navigation and developments in port equipment, the time spent supplying vessels decreased significantly since the early history of the Merchant Navy. From coal mining operations, where sacks or baskets of coal were loaded on board, to transporting live animals to feed the passengers and crew, the task was long and laborious. Later advancements, such as heating oil and electricity, allowed the use of cold rooms and would revolutionize port professions.


The development of cargo ships, especially the arrival of the container-ship, improved the loading and unloading of vessels over time. These once burdensome operations required a significant number of men per ship to work under tough conditions. Bales of cotton, sacks of coffee, fruit, cereals, vehicles, animals, oil and gas—shipping companies have handled the transportation of all types of goods by sea for centuries.


Transporting seagoing personnel, postal packages, baggage and passengers—as well as cargo, vehicles and even pet animals—requires flawless organization and seamless coordination before each departure. A flurry of activity gripped the vessel, hangars and docks until the sirens were finally sounded, signaling the departure.

Marine Terminals

The marine terminals built in major ports were sometimes shared by several companies or for the sole use of one particular company. Often directly served by a rail line, the largest marine terminals were equipped with covered docks where waves of passengers disembarked from their trains. As soon as they arrived, travelers were directed to the appropriate areas according to their class. Passengers could then board the ship using the gangways after all formalities were carried out. Once on board the deck, it was time to say a final farewell, which was often celebrated by throwing confetti.