Located on the Strait of Hormuz, the Port of Bandar Abbas is southern Iran's main maritime outlet. It lies on the shores of Hormuz Bay across from Qeshm, Larak, and Hormuz islands. The Port of Bandar Abbas is about 123 nautical miles (187 kilometers or 116 miles direct) north-northwest of the Port of Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates. The Port of Bandar Abbas is over 575 nautical miles (775 kilometers or 482 miles direct) southeast of Iran's Imam Khomeini Port. In 2011, more than 400 thousand people called the Port of Bandar Abbas home.
The Port of Bandar Abbas is connected to Tehran and the rest of Iran by road, rail, and air. The port's most important imports are manufactured goods, and its exports include agricultural produce, petroleum products, and Kerman rugs. From the late 18th Century until 1868, Iran leased the Port of Bandar Abbas to Oman. As late as the 1950s, the Port of Bandar Abbas was still a fishing town with a population of less than twenty thousand. Despite its relatively poor port facilities, the Port of Bandar Abbas prospered during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War when the country's western ports were vulnerable. The Port of Bandar Abbas is home to an oil refinery, a fish cannery, and a cotton mill. In the late 20th Century, a new harbor, shipbuilding yard, and a major rail link were added.
The Port of Bandar Abbas has always served a maritime function regardless of what it was called. It was a major port for the Persian Empire. Records refer to the Port of Bandar Abbas during the reign of Darius the Great (from 586 to 522 BC), when his commander, Silacus, departed from the Port of Bandar Abbas to go to India and the Red Sea. When Alexander was conquering the Persian Empire, the Port of Bandar Abbas was called Hormirzad.
In the 16th Century, the Persians called the Port of Bandar Abbas Gamrun. In 1514, the Portuguese conquered the Port of Bandar Abbas and used it to protect their maritime commerce, calling it Comorao. In 1614, Abbas the Great took the Port of Bandar Abbas from the Portuguese. With the help of Britain's navy, Abbas built it in to the important Port of Bandar Abbas.
While its residents still called it Bandar-e Abbas in the early 17th Century, the English and Portuguese called the Port of Bandar Abbas Combru or Combu. By the 1670s, the Port of Bandar Abbas was called Gameroon.
Beginning in 1740, a variety of Arab rulers owned and controlled the Port of Bandar Abbas. In about 1780, the city was leased to the rulers of Muscat (in Oman). When Muscat began to decline, the Persians took control of the Port of Bandar Abbas in 1868.
The Port of Bandar Abbas got its modern name in the 1980s. It is a major shipping center, primarily for imports, and the Port of Bandar Abbas has a long history of trade with the Surat in India. Today, tourists visit the Port of Bandar Abbas and the nearby islands of Hormuz and Qeshm each year.
At one time, the Port of Bandar Abbas was well known for its export of Iranian pottery (called "gombroon") as well as cargoes like dates, citrus, tobacco, and fish. It was developed as a major port for modern Iran during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s when the more northerly port of Khorramshahr was captured by Iraq.
By the late 20th Century, almost three-quarters of all imports to Iran arrived at the Port of Bandar Abbas. There are fishing docks adjacent to the berths serving international cargo vessels, to the large shipyard, and to naval facilities in the Port of Bandar Abbas.
Today, the Port of Bandar Abbas' most important industries include producing textiles, fishing, refining oil, and producing steel and aluminum. Mining products including chromium, salt, sulfur, and red oxide are exported through the Port of Bandar Abbas. The nearby island of Qeshm is a free trade zone serving the Port of Bandar Abbas.