The history of Batumi harbor development is basically the history of the formation of the Caucasus region’s logistical center, which determined Georgia's role as a transit country. Batumi port serves as a significant circle of Europe-Caucasus-Asia corridor, which starts in Europe and via Bulgaria, Rumania, Ukraine and the Black Sea connects the Caspian Sea region - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, etc.
The major factor of the port development have always been and still remains the Caspian Sea oil. The roots of Batumi trade port can be traced back to the Roman Empire when it represented the major point within the Roman trade network under the rule of Emperor Adrian III.
In 1878 Batumi was declared a free port (until 1885). 'Porto Franco' status benefitted the town; it has noticeably expanded and gradually became a modern European town.
Among 18 associations involved in oil transportation, the most notable ones were of the Rothschilds, the Nobels and the Mantashevs.
In 1873 Emanuel Nobel' oldest son - Robert Nobel arrived in Baku. He chose Baron Rothschild as his business partner in the oil industry. During this period Rothschild met a ship broker Fred Lane and an importer Marcus Samuel, which first had an idea of developing a tanker (ships for transporting the oil).