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Port of San Diego

Port of San Diego
File:Cruise Ships Visit Port of San Diego 005.jpg
Aerial view of the Port of San Diego
Opened December 18, 1962
Owned by San Diego Unified Port District
Annual cargo tonnage 3,300,000
Annual container volume 615,208
Passenger traffic 259,123

The Port of San Diego is a self-supporting public-benefit corporation established in 1962 by an act of the California State Legislature. In 2009, The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics ranked the Port of San Diego as one of America's top 30 U.S. containership ports[1] bringing in nearly Script error: No such module "convert". of cargo per year. Together with the National City Marine Terminal, the Port of San Diego is the primary port of entry for Honda, Acura, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi Fuso, and Hino Motors into America. The Port also holds a 20-year lease with Dole Food Company bringing in much of the country's banana crop.

The Port is governed by a seven member Board of Port Commissioners; one commissioner each is appointed by the city councils of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City, and three commissioners are appointed by the San Diego City Council. The Board establishes policies under which the Port's staff – supervised by the Executive Director – conducts its daily operation.


The San Diego Unified Port District was created in 1962 after the California State legislature passed Senate Bill 41 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors certified it. The citizens, in 1964, approved a $10.9 million bond for capital improvements. Improvements included the development of a new air terminal, preparation for Harbor Island to be leased, and construction of a new cargo terminal in National City. In 1970, the first cruise ship to offer scheduled cruises out of San Diego, since the creation of the Port, began making 10-day trips to Mexico. In 1980, the Port in an effort to improve the ecological balance of the Bay completed a wildlife refuge in Chula Vista. In 1983, The San Diego Cruise Industry Consortium was formed to promote San Diego as a cruise destination and homeport. Then just three years later the B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal was officially dedicated. That same year, over 26,000 passengers embarked and disembarked at the terminal. In 1989, the Port-funded, $165 million, waterfront San Diego Convention Center opened. In 1990, The Pasha Group began importing vehicles (Isuzus) at the National City Marine Terminal. A total of 15,589 vehicle units were imported the first year. Pasha now imports over 400,000 vehicles annually. In 1993, the Port and Tenth Avenue Cold Storage Company celebrated the grand opening of San Diego's first on-dock cold storage facility, built for $11 million, at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. In 2001, the Board of Port Commissioners announced a major 20-year lease with Dole Food Company. This signified the Port's entry into the refrigerated containerized cargo market. Dole ships 1.8 billion pounds of bananas annually.[2]


Port of San Diego Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal

The Port of San Diego administers two marine cargo facilities, Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and National City Marine Terminal. The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is a Script error: No such module "convert". multi-purpose eight berth facility. Inbound cargo includes refrigerated commodities, fertilizer, cement, break bulk commodities, and forest products. The terminal features an on-dock state-of-the-art Script error: No such module "convert". square foot cold storage facility warehousing a variety of fresh produce and other perishables. The National City Marine Terminal is a Script error: No such module "convert". seven berth facility operated by The Pasha Group, which processed over 500,000 vehicles during fiscal year 2006-2007. The National City Marine Terminal serves as the primary port of entry for Honda, Acura, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi Fuso, and Hino Motors.[3][4]


Port of San Diego B-Street Cruise Terminal

The Port's main cruise facility is located downtown. The main facility, at B Street Pier in downtown San Diego along North Harbor Drive, has three cruise berths. The Port also redeveloped the historic Broadway Pier to create a second cruise-ship pier and terminal, which opened in December 2010.[5]

Few cruise lines home port in San Diego like Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean. Other cruise lines may also use San Diego as a port of call. Holland America uses San Diego as a home port during the winter season. Royal Caribbean used to regularly operate Mexico cruises from San Diego, but now only operates on the months of April and November operating cruises to Panama Canal. Disney Cruise Line has seasonal Mexican cruises in the spring and fall, as well as a Panama Canal cruise at the end of the visit. Carnival Cruise Lines used to operate from San Diego, but no longer does so after April 2012. Carnival Elation was the only cruise ship that operated from San Diego on a year-round basis from 2007 to 2010. Carnival Spirit seasonally operated from the port during fall and winter seasons. It continued like that until Carnival ceased their cruise operations from San Diego. On May 2013, Celebrity Cruises' Solstice became longest cruise ship to dock in San Diego, during a Wine Country Coastal Cruise. [6] The Port of San Diego experienced a 44-percent growth in cruise calls between 2002 and 2006, growing from 122 to 219 calls. Passenger numbers more than doubled in that time from 276,000 in 2002 to 619,000 in 2006.[7] Cruise ship business peaked in 2008, when the Port hosted 252 ship calls and more than 800,000 passengers.[8] By 2011 the number of ship calls had fallen to 103, a decline blamed on the slumping economy as well as fear of travel to Mexico due to well-publicized violence there.[6]


Environmental stewardship is a key role the Port of San Diego plays. The Port engages in public education for both adults and school children regarding pollution prevention. The Port protects San Diego bay through stormwater management and endangered species management. In addition, the bay is protected and improved through removal of hazardous waste and contaminated sediments.

Real Estate

Real Estate is one of five strategic activity areas of the Port of San Diego. The Port currently administers approximately 400 separate tenancy agreements. Revenue from real estate assets and developments, primarily building and ground rents and concession fees, was approximately $62 million in FY 2001-2002. The Port of San Diego collects rents from many hotels, restaurants, parking facilities, yacht clubs, etc. around the San Diego Bay.


San Diego Bay is home to many large scale luxury hotels. The Port of San Diego currently holds tenancy agreements with more than 15 hotels, including Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.


There are currently three shipyards on San Diego Bay, National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), Continental Maritime of San Diego (Huntington Ingalls), and Southwest Marine (BAE Systems). NASSCO is the largest new construction shipyard on the west coast of the United States; "specializing in auxiliary and support ships for the U.S. Navy and oil tankers and dry cargo carriers for commercial markets."[9]


Mission Statement

While protecting the Tidelands Trust resources, the Port will balance economic benefits, community services, environmental stewardship, and public safety on behalf of the citizens of California.

Vision Statement

To Foster a World Class Port through Excellence in Public Service.

Harbor Police

The San Diego Harbor Police Department is the law enforcement authority for the Port of San Diego. Harbor Police jurisdiction includes San Diego Bay, San Diego International Airport, and all tidelands around the bay.

See also


  1. ^ top 30 U.S. containership ports
  2. ^ 40 Fact reflecting 40 Years of Service at
  3. ^ Maritime Fact Sheet at
  4. ^ San Diego Unified Port District Annual Report 2007
  5. ^ "New Cruise Ship Terminal Opens". San Diego 6 News. December 17, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Carnival Cruise Lines pulling out of San Diego". San Diego Union Tribune. January 13, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  7. ^ San Diego Unified Port District Annual Report 2006
  8. ^ San Diego Metro Magazine
  9. ^ NASSCO website

External links