Port Sudan still is the seaport that takes care of most of Sudan’s foreign trade. The British founded the seaport in 1906 and although it has lost most of its spirit due to the war, it is still possible to catch a glimpse of the glorious past. In the old days, Port Sudan was also a popular port for passenger traffic. Nowadays, one can only spot sailers from various countries setting off with ships filled with cotton and gum arabic. Port Sudan is a good base from which to embark on a diving trip.
The harbour is in the mouth of a gulf continuing seaward through a coral-free channel 6085 feet (1826 m) deep. Imports include machinery, vehicles, fuel oil, and building materials. Cotton, gum arabic, oilseeds, hides and skins, and senna are the chief exports. An oil pipeline about 528 miles (850 km) in length, between the port and Khartoum city, was completed in 1977. Port Sudan has a near-desert climate, necessitating the acquisition of fresh water from Wadi Arba’at in the Red Sea Hills and from salt-evaporating pans. The population, mainly Arab or Nubian Sudanese, includes the indigenous Beja, West Africans, and small minorities of Asians and Europeans.