The Port of Mariupol lies on the shores of the Sea of Azov in southeast Ukraine on the estuary of the Kalchik and Kalmius Rivers about 74 kilometers northeast of the Port of Berdyansk and over 100 kilometers west of the Port of Taganrog in Russia. The Port of Mariupol is the biggest city in the Priazovye region, an important industrial center and seaport, and a popular seaside resort. In 2008, over 494 thousand people lived in the Port of Mariupol.
The Port of Mariupol is home to two of Ukraine's largest steel mills and its biggest machine-building company that produce much of the country's exports. The Port of Mariupol exports machinery, steel, coal, and grain from the city and surrounding region. From 1948 until 1989, the Port of Mariupol was known as Zhdanov.
In the 16th Century, the Port of Mariupol was a Cossack fortress called Kalmius. When Russia took control of the area in 1775, it was renamed Pavlovsk. In 1780, it became known as Mariupol due to the many Greeks from the Crimean Peninsula that were resettled there.
The Port of Mariupol was created when Russia recognized the need for commercial relations with other industrial centers in Russia as well as those outside of Russia in Europe and America. Construction of the deep-water port began in 1886, and it opened for operations three years later in 1889 when 18 cars loaded with coal were shipped to the Port of Mariupol. By 1904, it ranked third in cargo volume for all ports in Russia.
The railroad connected the Port of Mariupol to the Donets Basin and began to grow as a seaport. In 1948 when the Port of Mariupol was part of the Soviet Union, the city was named after a high-ranking member of the Communist Party who was born there, Andrey Aleksandrovich Zhdanov. The name of Mariupol was returned in 1989.