Our History

Here is the history of the port of Guadeloupe, from its inception to the present days. Make a plunge back to the past and discover how we have evolved at the core of the upheavals and mutations of history, browsing through key dates, photographs and poignant testimonies of the visionary figures that have built our port.


Once upon a time… The Port

For a long time Guadeloupe was connected to the rest of the world only by the sea…

The port is defined as being “an area of land and water fitted with facilities and equipments allowing firstly the reception of vessels, their loading and unloading and the storage of goods with terrestrial means of transportation, which can also have business activities related to maritime transports.”

But the Port is primarily a transition place between the rural and urban worlds, between tradition and modernity.

With the settlement of sugar plantations in Grande Terre, the Colony was forced to build a more convenient and better sheltered port. The bottom of the Petit Cul-de-Sac Marin, naturally protected from Atlantic swells and from the tradewinds presented the ideal configuration. Thus in 1730, the port of the Petit Cul-de-Sac Marin was built by the King's engineer Charles HOUEL, comprising a fort and a battery.

In 1765, the governor NOLIVOS gives the order to accelerate the embankment of the marshland and the construction of the docks with a 3-metre draught, near the centre of Morne Renfermé (Pointe-à-Pitre since 1769).
In 1794, it is named « Port de la Liberté » in tribute to the proclamation of the abolition of slavery held on Square Sartine (the present Place de la Victoire).
In 1928, the building contractor Louis DOULDAT carries out the dredging with a 9-metre draught, and the construction of harbours 1 and 2, of the customs building and of the harbour master's office.
En 1946, In 1946, Guadeloupe becomes a Department and the port accesses to the status of Department Port.

From 1948, the legal history of the Port property rights has been primarily punctuated by :

  • the Interministerial ordinance of 30 June 1948, which regulates the ressources distribution of the ancient colonial domain in the departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyane;

  • the report on the return of property to the Service des Ponts et Chaussées.


In 1965, the law n°65-491 of June 29 concerning the port autonomy is voted. It defines the principle and the existence of public port establishments involved in industrial and commercial activities.
With the decree n° 74-373 of May 6th, 1974, Guadeloupe Port Authority is created. The decree n° 75-986 of October 28th, 1975 sets the date of November 1st, 1975 to enforce the status of port authority of the public establishment. The Port of Guadeloupe changes from the status of Departmental Port to that of Port Authority. It thus becomes the seventh French port authority after Marseille, Le Havre, Dunkerque, Nantes Saint-Nazaire, Rouen, Bordeaux and before the Port Authority of La Rochelle which will be the last port to obtain this status.

In accordance with article L111.1 of the code of maritime ports, Guadeloupe Port Authority is thus a State public establishment, governed by the law of 1965 related to Port Authorities. It is endowed with legal personality, financial autonomy and placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea and the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment. It is subject to the economic and financial control of the Government.
On July 3rd, 1978 the report about property return to the « Guadeloupe Port Authority » is established.
The decree of 10 March 1981 sets the boundaries of the circonscription as it appears today ; the Arrêté préfectoral n°82 - 41 AD 1/2 sets the boundaries of State-controlled seaports : Pointe-à-Pitre/Jarry, Folle Anse on Marie-Galante, in accordance with the specifications of Art R.151-1.

Today, Major Seaport Authority

In the wake of the 2008 ports reform introduced for the mainland French ports, the law n°2012-260 of February 22th, 2012 introducing the reform of State-controlled overseas ports and various dispositions of adaption to the European Union legislation on transports was definitively voted to take account of the specific characteristics of overseas regions. Guadeloupe Port Authority thus becomes the "Major Seaport Authority" of Guadeloupe, a public port establishment administered by a supervisory board, a management board and a development board. Its headquarters remain located in Pointe-à-Pitre.


The decree n°2012-1103 of October 1st, 2012 establishing the grand port maritime of Guadeloupe, sets the date of January 1st, 2013 to enforce the new status. Guadeloupe Port Authority thus becomes a Grand Port Maritime with the name of " Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes ".