Shipping goods of any kind by land is difficult and expensive. Any item that has to travel more than a few miles goes by ship wherever possible.
Most roads are simply terrible, and bulk cargoes (such as coal) must go by ship anyway: it is the only way of moving goods cheaply and relatively quickly. It also makes the whole world a marketplace, even if the customers are not sure what to make of the goods being sent (British merchants insisted on exporting heavy woolen cloth to India for years, even though there was no obvious market for it.)
Coastal trade can be also very profitable. For example, a "cheese fleet" did nothing but shuttle back and forth between London and the northwest of England, bring Cheshire cheeses to the London market. By a happy accident of geology, Cheshire had rock salt mines that provided a preservative for the local cheese to make the sea journey to London. Although salty, this was undoubtedly healthier than most foods on a gentleman's table in the 18th Century!
- Level 0
- 2 Turns to Build
- 1250 Coin
- Improves Export Capacity (Increases Trade Values)
- +2 Trade Routes Possible (Sea)
- Adds to Region Wealth (Depends on the Port's Wealth)
- +3 Wealth Per Turn to Town Wealth in the region
- Recruits Basic Battle Vessels and Trading Ships
- Enables Commercial Port