The Industrial Revolution

Over the course of the century, most sailing ships were replaced by steam-powered vessels.

This shift dramatically improved ship speeds (as much as 5 to 6 knots) and size (maximum loads of up to 10,000 tons) but also resulted in greater specialisation.

On December 11th 1868, the Ministry of Public Works approved the creation of the Port Works Committee, which comprised merchants, ship owners and sailors. The first meeting of the Works Committee approved the construction of the first north-south wharf, which was built between 1877 and 1882 on the site of the current Barcelona wharf.

Developments such as a dedicated telegraph office and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 also brought about major changes in the Port. Efficiency improved and Mediterranean ports in general became ports of call for ships from the Far East, gaining ground against ports on the Atlantic coast.