An entrepôt (English: //; French: [ɑ̃tʁəpo]) or transshipment port is a port, city, or trading post where merchandise may be imported, stored, or traded, usually to be exported again. Such cities often sprang up and such ports and trading posts often developed into commercial cities due to the growth and expansion of long-distance trade. These places played a critical role in trade during the days of wind-powered shipping. In modern times customs areas have largely made entrepôts obsolete, but the term is still used to refer to duty-free ports with a high volume of re-export trade. Entrepôt also means 'warehouse' in modern French, and is derived from the Latin roots inter 'between' + positum 'position', literally 'that which is placed between.'
Entrepôts had an important role in the early modern period, when mercantile shipping flourished between Europe and its colonial empires in the Americas and Asia. For example, the spice trade to Europe, which necessitated long trade routes, led to a much higher market price than the original buying price. Traders often did not want to travel the whole route, and thus used the entrepôts on the way to sell their goods. This could conceivably lead to more attractive profits for those who were suited to traveling the entire route. The 17th-century Amsterdam Entrepôt is an excellent early-modern example.
Examples of specific entrepôts at various periods include:[original research?]
- Pollard, Elizabeth (2015). Worlds TOgether Worlds Apart. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-393-92207-3.
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". Douglas Harper.
- Organized Markets in Pre-industrial Europe Archived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine (draft chapter of The Origins of Western Economic Success: Commerce, Finance, and Government in Pre-Industrial Europe) – Kohn, Meir, Department of Economics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, 12 July 2003, p. 3