May 1, 2024 — May is Maritime Month at the Port of San Diego. Throughout the month, the Port highlights how the four maritime sectors vital to the region’s economy create our Bay of Life. The four sectors are cargo, cruise, shipbuilding and ship repair, and commercial and sportfishing. Maritime Month also honors the thousands of valued men and women in the maritime industry along our San Diego Bay waterfront.

“Maritime Month is a special time of year when the Port of San Diego shares and celebrates our local maritime industry with the public,” said Chairman Frank Urtasun, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “This year’s theme, The Bay of Life, highlights each maritime sector and their contributions, including our environmental enhancements to a thriving San Diego Bay.”

As part of Maritime Month, the Port is offering free bus tours that will give guests a firsthand look at some of the goods arriving on U.S. shores via San Diego, including automobiles, refrigerated cargo, and other bulk cargo. Space for the tours is limited and participants need to register in advance on the Port’s website.

Maritime Month Bus Tour Details:

  • Sunday, May 19, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
  • Monday, May 20, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Each bus tour will depart from Pepper Park, 3299 Tidelands Avenue in National City, and tour the National City Marine Terminal and the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, returning to Pepper Park. Free parking is available in the Pepper Park parking lot and along adjacent streets.

Boarding will begin 30 minutes prior to each tour. Participants must be 13 years of age or older, and valid identification will be required for terminal access. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and fill out a waiver.

For more information about Maritime Month and to sign up for the bus tours, go to portofsandiego.org/maritimemonth.

Maritime Month History and Fun Facts:
Maritime Month is the 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.

The Port’s maritime industry is vital to our region’s economy. A 2019 Economic Analysis Study found:

  • The Maritime Trade and Cargo Handling Industry has a $64 million annual economic impact on the region and provides 2,000 direct jobs.
  • 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.
  • The Cruise Industry has a $20 million annual economic impact and provides nearly 500 jobs.

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), and
  • 159,000 containers (in units – primarily refrigerated cargo like bananas, pineapples, and other fruits and veggies).

As a Bay of Life, the Port and various maritime partners are also working together to improve air quality and public health by implementing many positive emissions reduction programs in alignment with the Port’s Maritime Clean Air Strategy. These include:

  • The first all-electric 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
  • The Vessel Speed Reduction Program
  • Replacement of diesel cargo handling equipment with zero emissions equipment