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city, principal seaport of The Sudan on the Red Sea coast, 295 miles (475 km) by rail northeast of the Nile River valley at 'Atbarah. Built between 1905 and 1909 to replace Sawakin (Suakin)-the historic, coral-choked Arab port-Port Sudan has a petroleum refinery, an international airport, and modern docking facilities that handle the bulk of the country's external trade. The harbour is in the mouth of a gulf continuing seaward through a coral-free channel 60-85 feet (18-26 m) deep. Imports include machinery, vehicles, fuel oil, and building materials. Cotton, gum arabic, oilseeds, hides and skins, and senna are the chief exports. An oil pipeline about 528 miles (850 km) in length, between the port and Khartoum city, was completed in 1977. Port Sudan has a near-desert climate, necessitating the acquisition of fresh water from Wadi Arba'at in the Red Sea Hills and from salt-evaporating pans. The population, mainly Arab or Nubian Sudanese, includes the indigenous Beja, West Africans, and small minorities of Asians and Europeans. Pop. (2000 est.) urban agglom., 410,000.