The Mediterranean Sea facilitates travel, financial and cultural exchange. By the nineteenth century, Volos had become a hub in the network of medium-sized coastal Mediterranean cities. As a port of export, up to the interwar period, it was in contact with major Mediterranean ports. A Russian steamer company was the first to call at the port of Volos, serving the route Odessa – Constantinople – Kavala – Thessaloniki – Volos – Syros – Smyrni – Rhodes – Cyprus – Alexandria. In 1852, the Austrian Lloyd Steam Shipping Company established an agency in Volos, which mainly served on the Volos–Trieste route. By 1868, French steamers had begun to call at the port on the route Marseille – Naples – Piraeus – Volos – Thessaloniki – Porto Lagos, Xanthi – Dardanelles.
As a result of the flourishing trade, many inhabitants working in commerce and insurance moved to Marseilles and Trieste. During the same period, businessmen from Pelion settled in Egypt and engaged in commerce, industry, brokerage, and cotton production and export.
Volos served as a base for business houses operating in the Mediterranean, including Herman Spierer Tobacco Company, which owned tobacco warehouses in Smyrna, Istanbul, Trieste, and elsewhere; the Bank of Athens, with an extensive branch network from the Levant to Marseilles and from Sudan to London; or Saint Joseph’s School, with branches in Tunisia, Cairo, Cyprus, Smyrna, and the Aegean islands.