Origins and expansion of the Port of Vilagarcía

The historical origin of the Port of Vilagarcía is located in Carril, in the first half of the 19th century. All the activity in the area takes place around the Port, closely related to Santiago de Compostela. It was the destination for national shipping lines with general merchandise, and international ships with wood and cattle.

The notable growth of migration flow, the construction of the railroad and the consolidation of consignees promoted the expansion of the Port of Carril and, later, motivated its replacement by the Port of Vilagarcía, an incipient town that in 1893 built its first jetty.

The Port of Vilagarcía obtains its declaration of "general interest", officially, in 1888 (ten years after the agreement for the construction of the Muelle de Hierro -Iron wharf-, which would be completed in 1890) and the great expectations generated are definitively consolidated with the construction of Muelle de O Ramal, -(railway) Branch wharf-, which was the result of private initiative and whose construction works finished in 1903. Both for the port and for the town, this was the stage of greatest growth and expansion in its entire history so far.

In 1911, a first comprehensive configuration of the Port was approved, with a shelter pier, a transverse pier, a quay parallel to the coast, a dry dock ramp, an access road and accessory works.


The Port in the Civil War and postwar period

Given the scarcity of its own resources, the Port depended almost exclusively during this period on State funds. Despite this, between 1939 and 1949 the definitive bases of the Port of Vilagarcía were laid. The improvement works, especially the Commercial Dock, are almost finished in the early 1950s.
Port traffic takes a new course and the entity faces the replacement of the primitive Wharf of O Ramal (so called because the Ramal del Ferrocarril –railway branch reached it). The original structure, made of iron and wood, was replaced by a masonry one, which was received in 1954. The works to create the current Passenger Wharf, replacing the picturesque Iron Wharf, lasted for 20 years and did not end until 1968. The increase in port traffic led to an expansion and widening of the pier.

The modern port

In the middle of the last decade of the 20th century, the port of Vilagarcía began another phase of construction of infrastructures. The Ferrazo dock and the Comboa dock date from that period; thanks to these new infrastructures, the Port Authority was able to meet the need for ever greater drafts and berthing lines. The works, carried out in successive phases, culminated in the expansion of the Ferrazo dock (the area where the container terminal is currently located), which was inaugurated in 2008, and that of the Commercial dock in its North and West alignments, officially inaugurated in 2012, together with the Border Inspection Post of the Port Authority.
These extensions have made it possible to clearly differentiate a port for commercial and industrial use, on the one hand, and a citizen port (on the urban façade of Vilagarcía), on the other. Port growth towards the South zone has made it possible to free up spaces in the area between O Cavadelo and O Ramal, which is oriented towards uses linked to port-city interaction.