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In the beginning of the 20th century Thessaloniki was one of the largest cities in the Ottoman Empire. The rail link with Europe (1888), Constantinople (1895) and Florina (1893) made the port the financial center of the Balkans. In 1904 Turkey and France signed an agreement to set up the French company named: "Societe Ottomane d' Exploitation du Port de Salonique", which undertook construction projects and the operation of the port for the next forty years.

This was the period of the construction of the breakwater, the warehouses on the first pier, the Customs House, the port railway lines, and the purchase of the first cargo-handling equipment. The port was becoming a source of profit and development. By 1912 Thessaloniki had become part of Greece and the Greek governments were deeply interested in the development of the port, which was regarded as the most important harbour in the whole Balkan Peninsula.
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