Construction on Dortmund's port which terminates the Dortmund-Ems Canal connecting Dortmund to the North Sea started in 1895. It was opened 1899 by Kaiser Wilhelm. At the beginning of the 20th century it was mainly used for the import and export of wheat, coal and ore. The port was expanded in the 1920s and 1930s by adding new docks as well as on the administrative infrastructure . Today Dortmund Port is the biggest European canal port with 10 docks and a pier length of 11 km.
Gaining its greatest importance after WW II, in 1972 6.2 million tonnes of good were shipped over the port. But even the completion of the container port in 1987 could not stop the gradual decline of the port resulting from the extinction of the coal and steel industries in Dortmund.
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