The Port of Nakhodka is in the extreme southeast of Russia on Nakhodka Bay off the Sea of Japan. Today’s port was constructed in the early 1980s under the jurisdiction of Nakhodka town, establishing the Port of Nakhodka’s dominance over the Port of Vladivostok as eastern Russia’s biggest and most mechanized port.
In addition to being an important export center, it is home to a fishing fleet and a passenger ferry to the Port of Yokohama, Japan. The Port of Nakhodka has many terminals with piers that can accommodate deep-water vessels and facilities that handle coal, timber, and containers. In 2006, the Port of Nakhodka was home to over 171 thousand people.
The Port of Nakhodka was built around the calm ice-free Nakhodka Bay, which was discovered when a Russian corvette sought shelter from a storm in 1859.
The area was not settled until the early 20th Century when a small fishing village was founded there. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union decided to build a harbor there, and several villages were established. The villages were merged as a work settlement in the 1940s. In the 1950s, Japanese prisoners of war were forced to build housing for the new port’s workers.
With about 28 thousand residents in 1950, the Port of Nakhodka received town status. About the same time, the Soviets decided to use the Port of Vladivostok as a base for its Pacific Naval Fleet, closing the port to foreign shipping.
When Vladivostok was closed, the Port of Nakhodka became the only Russian port in the Far East and the last eastern stop for the Trans-Siberian Railway, stimulating rapid growth for the town. During its height in the 1970s and 1980s, the Port of Nakhodka was well-maintained and prosperous.
In 1991, the Port of Vladivostok was re-opened for foreign trade, and the Port of Nakhodka suffered as a consequence since the city’s economy depends on port-related business. The 1998 financial crisis in Russia also hurt local industry. It remains an important transportation hub for goods from Japan that are transferred to the Russian railway network.
The Port of Nakhodka has recently been declared a Free Economic Zone. Both the regional and federal governments are hopeful of gaining foreign investments in the city.