The Growth of Ports at the End of the 19th Century: The Role of French Ports in the Multimodal Chain

Special Report: Port Traffic
By Bruno Marnot

The economic globalization in the nineteenth century was the root of a deep transformation of trade seaports which became the first multimodal platforms in history. The new conditions of sea and inland transport submitted the ports to a permanence adjustment logic. which required large investments and was therefore very selective. From then on, what was at stake was the possibility to offer the best foreland / hinterland interface, which appeared as necessary condition to catch new sea and inland traffic, as-well as to attract heavy industry which became a decisive factor of the growth of the ports at the end of the nineteenth century.

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