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Salina Cruz

Salina Cruz is a major seaport on the Pacific coast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is the state’s third-largest city and is the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. It is part of the Tehuantepec District in the west of the Istmo Region.

The city area of 113.55 sq km, is the state’s fourth-largest municipality in population.

The port was developed in the late 19th century due to its location at the southern terminus of the Ferrocarril Transístmico, which carried freight across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.


Salina Cruz is situated near the mouth of the Río Tehuantepec, on the open coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on the Gulf of Tehuantepec, and has no natural harbor.

There was only a small Native village before Salina Cruz was chosen as the Pacific terminus of the Tehuantepec National Railway, whereupon a modern town was laid out and built on adjacent higher ground and an artificial harbor was built by the Mexican government to accommodate the expected traffic.

The new port was opened to traffic in 1907 and in 1909 its population was largely composed of labourers.

The harbor was formed by the construction of two breakwaters, the western 990 m and the eastern 580 m long, which curve toward each other at their outer extremities and leave an entrance 194 m wide.

The enclosed space is divided into an outer and inner harbor by a double line of quays wide enough to carry six great warehouses with electric cranes on both sides and several railway tracks.

Connected with the new port works was one of the then-largest dry docks in the world 190 m long and 27 m wide, with a depth of 8.5 m on its sill at low water. The works were planned to handle an immense volume of transcontinental freight, and before they were finished four steamship lines had arranged regular calls at Salina Cruz.

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