The Baku International Sea Trade Port has been the biggest and busiest port on the Caspian Sea since it was established in 1902. Beginning as a humble two-jetty port with a few workers, it has grown to be the gateway for water-borne traffic to Azerbaijan.
Open all year on the ancient Silk Route, the Port of Baku is an important transit point for trade between Europe and Asia. When the rivers of Russia are open from April through November, the Port of Baku serves ships carrying cargoes from Western Europe and the Mediterranean to inland Russia. Its importance has grown with increasing trade of oil in the trans-Caspian region and growing offshore drilling in the last decade.
The main cargo terminal in the Port of Baku serves vessels carrying containers and bulk and general cargoes. The largest share of goods is in general cargo, and the Port of Baku's main cargo terminal has capacity to handle two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. The terminal contains six berths totaling 866 meters in length with alongside depth of seven meters. One of the berths is the Port of Baku's roll-on/roll-off quay. The berths are fully equipped with 16 cranes to handle up to three vessels at one time, and they are served by eight kilometers of railway. The main cargo terminal offers 24 thousand square meters of open storage and about 10 thousand square meters of covered warehouse.
Near the Port of Baku's main cargo terminal is the Container Terminal with capacity to handle 15 thousand containers per year. The Container Terminal has 1.6 thousand square meters of warehouses and is linked to the Port of Baku's main railway system.
Some 35 kilometers to the east-northeast of the Port of Baku is the Oil Terminal at Dubendi. The Oil Terminal handles oil from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan that is destined for ports on the Black Sea and the international market. The Port of Baku Oil Terminal has two piers that can handle four tankers at the same time. The Oil Terminal has capacity to handle 15 million tons of cargo per year. When the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan oil pipeline is completed, the Port of Baku will serve as a transit point for significantly larger volumes of oil to international markets. The Oil Terminal is equipped to receive contaminated waters and to clean up accidental discharges of oil.
The Ferry Terminal at the Port of Baku serves passengers, vehicles, and cargo traveling between Baku and Iranian ports. Each ferry can accommodate 28 wagons or 40 trailers as well as over 200 passengers and as many as 50 cars. The Ferry Terminal at the Port of Baku has capacity to handle up to eight million tons of cargo per year. As an important stop on the Tracea-Restoration of the Historic Silk Route project, the Port of Baku anticipates a dramatic rise in traffic through the Ferry Terminal over the coming years.
The Port of Baku's port fleet includes 20 vessels that are housed at the Port Fleet Terminal. The terminal is also the arrival/departure point for cruisers used by the municipal government and the citizens of Baku.
The Passenger Terminal in the Port of Baku contains a 340-meter long berth used by passenger ships moving between ports on the Caspian Sea. It is also used for transporting oil workers to and from their duty stations.