There is a general assumption that ports are massive facilities that manage very large volumes of freight. And in some cases, this is accurate; California does in fact have three of the busiest container ports in the nation.
In addition to the large container ports of Oakland, Long Beach, and Los Angeles, however, California is also blessed with eight niche ports which provide invaluable local, regional and state-wide benefits.
The Senate Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement held a hearing on July 10th, hosted by the Port of San Diego, focused on raising awareness of California’s niche ports. Committee Chair, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), was joined by Senators Connie Leyva (D-Chino), Tony Mendoza (D-Montebello), Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista), and Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), as representatives from the maritime community, including the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), and representatives of several of California’s niche ports, discussed market conditions and trends, facilities and activities at niche ports, and key opportunities for strategic growth and innovation.
Randa Coniglio, the newly appointed first female President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of San Diego, hosted the hearing and provided insight on various roles her port serves in the break-bulk, produce, automobile, and project cargo markets. The Port of San Diego is also one of the premier international cruise ship ports, serving Disney, Norwegian, Princess and Holland America cruise lines. Cruise ships and their passengers provide significant benefit to the local and regional economy as tourists explore the region, shop in local businesses, and stay in hotels before and after cruises.