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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego Releases Economic Impact Report

Port generated $9.4 Billion for Local Economy in 2017

The Port of San Diego continues to serve as a vital economic engine for the region, according to the latest economic impact report that details and analyzes the Port’s recent economic activity.

In 2017, the Port’s overall economic impact on the San Diego County region was $9.4 billion, a 13 percent increase over two years, and a 22 percent increase over four years. There were more than 44,300 jobs on the Port’s waterfront, including shipbuilding and cargo handling, tourism and hospitality jobs. Through a multiplier effect, approximately one in 30 San Diego County jobs were generated by the Port.

“The results of the study reinforce the significant roles the Port of San Diego plays in contributing to our regional economy,” said Port Chairman Garry Bonelli. “As an economic engine, our Port provides good-paying jobs to tens of thousands of our residents. At the same time, our bay offers a spectacular recreational playground while the Port champions protections for our diverse ecosystem.”

The 2017 Economic Impact Report was prepared by Economic & Planning Systems and is the eighth study of its kind commissioned by the Port since 1992. The report examines the economic activity that takes place on, or is directly attributable to, the 34 miles of waterfront cared for by the Port (military installations and the San Diego International Airport make up most of the other 20 miles). 

Additional findings of the 2017 Economic Impact Report include:

  • Waterfront jobs and business operations generated approximately 70,000 total jobs throughout the region, a 3 percent increase over two years.
  • The growth in direct employment attributable to the Port increased by 1.6 percent over two years, while direct economic impact increased by 3.7 percent.
  • Economic activity on San Diego Bay and along the Port’s surrounding waterfront generated more than $140 million in property, sales and hotel taxes (collected by the Port’s five member cities and the County of San Diego. The Port does not assess/collect taxes). 
  • The Port’s two cargo terminals processed over 1.8 million tons of cargo (included more than 370,000 automobiles and more than 100 million bananas per month).
  • Cruise ship terminals experienced a 14 percent increase in activity, with 88 cruise calls and passenger throughput of about 244,000.
  • Fifteen major hotels and resorts offered close to 8,000 rooms.
  • The San Diego Convention Center hosted 149 events attracting 899,000 people in 2017.
  • The Blue Economy, consisting of ocean-related enterprises, continues to grow. Six pilot projects launched since 2017 through the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator Program include shellfish aquaculture operations, vessel washing technology, copper remediation, and smart marina optimization.

View the complete 2017 Economic Impact Report at

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.