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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego Commemorates Maiden Voyage of the Beluga Ace Car Carrier

The Port of San Diego and its terminal operator, Pasha Automotive Services, welcomed a new car-carrying vessel to the National City Marine Terminal on April 9, 2018. The vessel, the M/V Beluga Ace from MOL ACE (Auto Carrier Express), arrived from the Port of Nakanoseki, Japan, bringing 2,487 Mazdas from the ports of Nakanoseki and Hiroshima, Japan. The vehicles were discharged by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 29 in conjunction with Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals.

To celebrate the maiden voyage, the Port held a traditional plaque exchange ceremony on April 9. Port Commissioner Robert “Dukie” Valderrama presented a plaque to the Beluga Ace’s Captain, Hirotoshi Tateyama, welcoming the vessel and its crew to San Diego. Katsumi Nagata, Senior Vice President of MOL ACE and Raul Lopez, National Ports Operations Manager for Mazda were also presented with welcoming plaques in appreciation of the new business. Also in attendance were Brian Mason, Vice President of Business Development for Pasha, Ryan Molinaro, West Coast General Manager for Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals and Anthony Soniga, President of ILWU Local 29. Pasha Automotive Services has provided auto processing services for Mazda vehicles discharged from vessels by Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals LP since 2006.

“The Port of San Diego is pleased to welcome Beluga Ace to the National City Marine Terminal and welcomes the additional business from Mazda,” said Commissioner Valderrama. “MOL is known worldwide for its commitment to safety, good service and protection of the environment. We congratulate MOL on its innovative vessel and look forward to additional visits to our port.”

The “FLEXIE” Class Beluga Ace was built at the Minaminippon Shipbuilding Company in Oita, Japan. It has six liftable decks which allow it to more effectively meet the demand for diversified vehicle and high and heavy cargo transport. Its bow shape is rounded and designed to minimize wind resistance. This unique design will also help the vessel reduce its CO2 emissions. The design was a collaboration of joint research by MOL, MOL Techno Trade, LTD and Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc. It is one of the environmental impact-reducing technologies developed in the MOL Group’s ISHIN NEXT- MOL Smart Ship Project.

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.


Port of San Diego Maritime is our gateway to the world—leading our working waterfront and facilitating the movement of goods and people, internationally and domestically.

Port Maritime businesses employ thousands of residents and generate billions of dollars per year for the regional economy, creating a prosperous global economic engine for all.