Port of Skikda
Review and History

The Port of Skikda is located near the mouth of the Wadi Safsaf on the Gulf of Stora on Algeria’s northeastern Mediterranean coast. Known as Philippeville until Algeria won independence in 1962, the Port of Skikda is the capital of the providence of the same name.

Incomes in the Port of Skikda are among the highest in North Africa. It is Algeria’s third busiest commercial port, with both a petrochemical terminal port and a fishing port. The city is home to prosperous natural gas, petrochemical, and oil refining industries. Its city hall and railroad station were designed by world-famous architect Le Corbusier. In 1998, over 152 thousand people lived in the metropolitan area.

Port History

The Port of Skikda was founded in 1838 by Frenchman Marshal Sylvain-Charles Valee, who called the port Constantine. Under French rule, it was called Philippeville (lasting until independence in 1962).

The Port of Skikda sits on an ancient Phoenician city that later became the 4th-Century Roman city of Rusicade. Vandals destroyed the Roman port in the 5th Century. The Port of Skikda boasts the biggest Roman theater in all of Algeria, and the local museum contains many Roman artifacts.

In 1848, the town of Philippeville was established as a commune under the French colonial power. In 1883, an earthquake struck Philippeville.

In the later years of World War II, a United Nations refugee camp was located in the Port of Skikda that received 200 Jews from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In 1955, 123 people died in an uprising during the war of independence. The victims were primarily French citizens and suspected collaborators. French reprisals took from 1200 to 12,000 lives, depending on which side reports the events.

In 1964, expansion work on the Port of Skikda was completed, but it remained a minor port. In 1970, a pipeline for natural gas started operating there, stimulating the development of oil refining, petrochemical, and liquefied gas industries. In 1972, three new oil jetties were completed, transforming the Port of Skikda into an important center for petroleum and petroleum products.

Since 1981, the Port of Skikda has undergone almost continuous improvement and expansion efforts. In 1981, pleasure craft and the fishing port were moved to nearby Stora. In 1985, a new commercial quay was opened to serve small trades.

Before Algeria’s 1962 independence, the Port of Skikda was populated mostly by people of Maltese and Italian heritage. After independence, Europeans left the city, and Muslim refugees moved in.

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