Although a title held by Famagusta Port for centuries, Limassol Port has now become the principal seaport in Cyprus. This was largely a direct result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 leaving the port of Famagusta within occupied territory and inaccessible to Greek Cypriots. The port is the largest and busiest harbour on the island, capable of handling vessels up to 820 ft (250 m) size for berthing in 45 ft (14 m) of water. It is entered through an approach channel which is 49 ft (15 m) deep and 492 ft (150 m) wide between the ends of two breakwaters.
With Cyprus an established player in the shipping industry, Limassol and its new port have accumulated importance over time and now is a centre for numerous shipping companies. Most of the island’s cargo (importation and exportation) is handled here. In the year 2000, 3,589,000 tonnes of cargo were handled whilst there were roughly 1 million passenger arrival and departures (>90% of total traffic). Over 50 international cruise liners include Cyprus in their Mediterranean routes resulting in much of that passenger traffic.
Time and again the port has served as the evacuation point for refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East. Most recently hundreds of thousands of EU and other citizens were evacuated from Lebanon.