The port system was created in 1904 with the construction of the Dortmund-Ems canal. The selection of the location south of the Teutoburger forest was, at the time, closely connected to plans of the Teutoburger Forest Railway (TWE) to lead their route to the Rhine with a canal crossing near Dörenthe. But it never came to pass. Instead, the Hannoversche Westbahn in Ibbenbüren was the northern connection point of the TWE route. Nonetheless, they were able to connect the Dortmund-Ems canal with the TWE Brochterbeck train station via a track spur.

The Ibbenbüren–Dörenthe port (previously Saerbeck port) was extremely important for the handling of coal, ore, fertilisers, lime and cement into the 1960s. However, with the construction of a new port on the Mittelland Canal in Ibbenbüren-Uffeln, the handling of Ibbenbüren coal was no longer required in 1962, after the handling of ore for Georgsmarienhütte had already previously come to a standstill. All the other freight types in railway / canal handling were also lost in the following years, not least because neither the handling technology nor the rail connections of the port met the increased requirements. All that remained was the handling of Elbe pyrites (railway/trucks), ultimately to the tune of 50-60,000 tonnes per year.

The port was operated by the company Albert Bergschneider GmbH from Ibbenbüren for years. After upgrade of the railway infrastructure in 2020, the Ibbenbüren-Dörenthe became a trimodal location for handling construction materials, such as timber from the surrounding forest areas of the Teutoburger forest and Münsterland. It is also possible in principle to handle containers.

A major advantage of the port’s location is its proximity to the A 1/A 30 motorways, but more than this, the favourable position in the railway network with efficient connections in all directions.