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Maritime Month

prosperous way of life.
green way of life.
Our way of life.

decorative logo for Maritime month

 

a view froma a crane of cargo being lifted

Celebrating our bay of life 

Throughout May, we are proud to celebrate our maritime industry and honor the thousands of valued employees working along our San Diego Bay waterfront.    

animated GIF of downtown San Diego then and now

Our Past, Present, and Future 

Together, the stories and the work of cargo, cruise, shipbuilding and repair, and commercial and sportfishing create our bay of life.  

Follow along as we showcase just a few of the many achievements of Maritime throughout the month. 


Maritime Month Bus Tours 

Experience the Port of San Diego’s cargo terminals and waterfront like never before with 30-minute bus tours. Tours are free to attend, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited and registration is required. Guests can only register for one bus tour to allow space for others.   

Tour 1, Sunday May 19 Tour one is full.
3:30 – 5 p.m.  

Tour 2, Monday May 20 Tour two is full.
2 – 3:30 p.m. 

Tour 3, Tuesday, May 21 Tour three is full.
10 - 11:30 a.m.   

 


 

A Dole ship at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal

 

Our Prosperous Bay of Life: The Four Sectors of Maritime

  • Cargo

    Cargo

    The cargo and trade sector is essential to our bay of life in the San Diego region by handling specialty cargo that does not fit in standardized containers.    

    Examples of specialty cargo that moves through the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal include…auto parts, aviation parts, bauxite, bananas, sugar, and so much more.    

    In fiscal year 2023, the Port imported approximately 2.5 million metric tons of cargo. This included about:  

    • 400,000 vehicles (one in ten imported vehicles in the U.S. comes through San Diego) 
    • 640,000 metric tons of dry bulk cargo (sugar, sand, soda ash, fertilizer, bauxite, cement) 
    • 144,000 metric tons of break bulk cargo (windmill blades, generators & propellers, and even yachts)  
    • 101,000 metric tons of liquid bulk cargo (jet fuel) 
    • 159,000 containers (in units – primarily refrigerated cargo like bananas, pineapples, and other fruits and veggies)   

     

    Interested in learning more about cargo?
  • Cruise

    Cruise

    The cruise sector not only brings prosperity but showcases the adventurous aspect of the San Diego region.  

    A 2019 Economic Analysis Study found the Cruise Industry has a $20 million annual economic impact and provides nearly 500 jobs.  

    With each cruise that disembarks on our shore, we welcome visitors to enjoy our dynamic waterfront. As adventurers embark from our shores, we send guests on a memorable experience.  

     

    Interested in cruising?
  • Shipbuilding and Repair

    Shipbuilding and Repair

    The shipbuilding and ship repair sector is foundational to our way of life in the San Diego Region. 

    As a federally designated Strategic Port, the hardworking men and women of our maritime industry play a vital role in supporting our local Naval Pacific Fleet, enhancing our national military readiness.  

    To help put the impact of our shipbuilding and ship repair sector into perspective, a 2019 Economic Analysis Study found the Industrial and Wholesale Industry, which includes shipbuilding and ship repair, has a $2.1 billion annual economic impact and provides about 6,600 jobs. 

     

  • Commercial and Sportfishing

    Commercial and Sportfishing

    Commercial and sportfishing have a distinguished legacy within the San Diego Region and help nourish our way of life. At one time, San Diego was known as “The Tuna Capital of the World” with two of the countries three biggest tuna canneries based along our San Diego Bay. 

    As Sportfishing Association of California President, Ken Franke expresses, “Globally, San Diego is one of the largest sportfishing fleets of its kind in the world; San Diego offers live bait fishing, and we have hundreds of thousands of anglers who come down to San Diego’s boats each year."   

     

    Get mariner resources here!

 


 

A Global Economic Engine: Maritime

Maritime businesses provide thousands of San Diego residents with high-paying jobs and generate billions of dollars per year for the regional economy, creating a prosperous global economic engine for all.  

Maritime Economic Impact 2019

Economic Impact Contributions based off 2019 Economic Impact Report 

To continue this prominent role within the San Diego region, each of our maritime sectors have been working towards an innovative and green way of life by implementing a variety of environmental initiatives; including but not limited to the first all-electric mobile harbor cranes in North America, the first all-electric tugboat in the United States, shore power expansion across all terminals, a bonnet system to collect cargo ship emissions, and the Vessel Speed Reduction Program.

 


 

Our Green Bay of Life: Environmental Work

  • All-Electric Mobile Harbor Cranes

    All-Electric Mobile Harbor Cranes

    Our new all-electric mobile harbor cranes are the first of their kind in North America and replace one of the biggest polluters in our maritime operations; the diesel-powered mobile harbor crane at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.  

    In addition to public health and environmental benefits, these cranes also enable the Port to attract additional business opportunities due to the increased maximum lift capacity – up to 400 metric tons (MT) versus the 100 MT lifting capacity of the Port’s former diesel crane. 

  • All-Electric Tugboat

    All-Electric Tugboat

    In partnership with Crowley, the Port welcomes the eWolf, the first all-electric tugboat in the United States! 

    The 82-foot vessel with 70 tons of bollard pull advances Crowley and the maritime industry’s efforts toward sustainability and decarbonization. Over the first 10 years of its use, the new eTug will reduce 178 tons of nitrogen oxide, 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter, and 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide versus a conventional tug. It also replaces a tugboat that consumes more than 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.  

    The etug will operate from Crosby Pier at our Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal with it's battery system charged at a specially-designed shoreside station developed with Cochran Marine. 

  • Bonnet System

    Bonnet System

    For vessels that are not able to utilize shore power, we are partnering with Clean Air Engineering – Maritime, Inc. (CAEM) to design, build, and operate a barge-based emissions control and capture system! This is sometimes referred to as a bonnet system. 

    This bonnet system is placed on top of a vessel’s smokestack and captures and treats exhaust while at berth. This system will be used for vessels that can’t utilize shore power. 

  • Shore Power Expansion

    Shore Power Expansion

    The Port first installed shore power at the cruise terminals in 2010, making us among the first ports in California to have shore power available for cruise ships.  

    Last year, we expanded the shore power capability at our B Street and Broadway Pier cruise ship terminals to allow two cruise ships to plug in simultaneously. 

    And now, we are adding a third connection at our cruise terminal that allows vessels with starboard connections to access shore power at the south berth. At our Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, we currently have one shore power system, which is used by our tenant, Dole. We are also working on installing a shore power system at our National City Marine Terminal, which specializes in roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) cargo, that should be operational in the next year. 

    Shore power helps to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as ships do not have to run their diesel auxiliary engines while in port. 

 


 

You Should Know: Maritime Fun Facts

When it comes to the relationship between our bay of life and maritime, there’s always something new to learn. Click through our timeline for a few fun facts!  

How heavy is, “heavy”?
How heavy is, “heavy”?

When we talk about our all-electric mobile harbor cranes and their heavy lift, we’re referring to their ability to lift up to 400 metric tons (MT)! But what does that really mean? It means about 200 cars or (when our cranes are used in tandem) approximately 68 elephants! 

San Diego Bay was once known as...
San Diego Bay was once known as...

...the Tuna Capital of the World! There’s even a historic statue commemorating our history as the homeport of the Pacific Tuna industry near Cesar Chavez Park. 

What is Maritime Month? Is there a Maritime Day?
What is Maritime Month? Is there a Maritime Day?

Maritime Month is our region’s unique celebration of National Maritime Day.   

In 1933, a Joint Congressional Resolution established May 22 as National Maritime Day to recognize the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine and the many other maritime industry workers who have transported cargo and defended the United States since 1775.   

The Port of San Diego joins ports throughout the nation to celebrate this day and, as it has done for many years, the Port of San Diego extends Maritime Day into a month-long celebration. 

Name that vessel: Is it a roll-on roll-off vessel (ro-ro), a cruise ship, a spaceship, or an all-electric tugboat?
Name that vessel: Is it a roll-on roll-off vessel (ro-ro), a cruise ship, a spaceship, or an all-electric tugboat?

While our beautiful bay sees many vessel types throughout the days, the vessel you’re looking at is the Crowley eWolf, the nation’s first all-electric tugboat!  

our electric tug is ready to go
Things to do while waiting for your next cruise adventure!
Things to do while waiting for your next cruise adventure!

Catch a trolley tour right in front of our cruise ship terminals and see multiple sites around San Diego Bay while waiting for your cruise ship to board! 

Spotted from the Port of San Diego Cruise Terminals
Spotted from the Port of San Diego Cruise Terminals

You don’t have to look far to see how we’re living our green way of life! From our cruise terminals alone, you can see cruise ships plugging into our shore power and our new all-electric mobile harbor cranes right across San Diego Bay! 

What do bananas, sugar, and cars have in common?
What do bananas, sugar, and cars have in common?

Bananas, sugar, and cars are just a few types of cargo which move through the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal! A few other cargo types include aviation parts, bauxite, soda ash, steel, coils, transformers, windmill blades, towers, hubs and nacelles, and the list goes on! 

What’s in the bag? Is it sugar? Bauxite? Bananas?
What’s in the bag? Is it sugar? Bauxite? Bananas?

You’re looking at bags of sugar and an example of the specialized care and attention to detail our terminals put into bulk cargo.  

huge bags of bulk sugar hanging from an offloading crane

While our terminals can accommodate a wide variety of cargo types, we understand that not all cargo ships the same. Bananas for example, require special temperature-controlled storage containers to ensure a quality product upon delivery. Bulk commodities such as bauxite and sugar require an entirely different set of specialized equipment (a bulk loader and rail with bulk capabilities) to ensure a quality product upon delivery! 

Your car and maritime!
Your car and maritime!

Did you know that one in every 10 cars nationwide gets processed through our cargo terminals? In fiscal year 2023, the Port imported approximately 400,000 vehicles! 

From ocean to table...
From ocean to table...

Every year, our commercial and sportfishing sector yields approximately 5 million lbs. of fish!