Lorient commercial port
Last summer I took you to Lorient’s marina. I recently had the occasion, on a sunny day, to take few pictures in this area, in one the four ports of the city : the commercial port. A “root activity” for Lorient which started during the French India Company era, founded by Colbert in 1664. The city’s name could be inspired from the first ship this company had ever built: “le Soleil d’Orient”. For more than a century, ships coming from Indian as Eastern colonies were bringing back coffee, tea, spices, sugar, silk, porcelain, etc.
The actual site dates from the end of the 19th century, a time where the local shipyard needed some coal (to make steel). It comes essentially from Wales. In exchange, from Lorient is exported pine wood used for the Welsh mines’ shoring. In the need for welcoming bigger ships, a deep-water port with a 110 meter wharf and 9 meters draft is built in the Kergoise area.
During World War 2, as I told you in the “Ship graveyard” shooting, the city is detroyed from around 90% by some bombings. Rubble is used to reconstruct and enlarge the port. The main wharf increases then from 110 to 330 meters. In addition, 3 huge cranes are set up as a railway linking the port to ease ship unloading and good transport.
From the sixties to the seventies, the nature of all imported goods deeply changes. From the early 60s, an oil terminal is added as coal traffic decreases. Actually it completely stopped in 1975. In those years, the main wharf is extended again to 569 meters. Since then, some facilities have been upgraded, some others added : a silo, a refrigerated terminal and a roro deck.
Lorient’s commercial port is one of the most important in Brittany (with Brest). Cereals, hydrocarbon and construction goods are mainly imported today. Cargos from Brasil unload soya bean, wheat comes from Lithuania and Poland, corn from Ukraine and sorghum from the U.S. Hydrocarbons (petrol as fuel) come from Russia and Europe into tankers and cargos from Turkey bring cement and pumice stones. The port employs around 200 persons of whom 30 are dockers.