California seaports are a major economic force and are critically important elements to the growth of California and the nation’s economy. Seaports are dependent upon the goods movement chain to efficiently distribute freight around the globe and across the nation.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach comprise the largest port complex in the United States and are key players in global enterprise. Together, they handle a fourth of all container cargo traffic in the United States. The Port of Oakland, the fourth largest port in the nation, handles trade from the Pacific Rim countries, delivering 99% of the ocean containers passing through Northern California to the rest of the nation.
California has 11 public ports, which include 3 “megaports” (Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland); 8 smaller niche ports (Hueneme, Humboldt Bay, Redwood City, Richmond, West Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Stockton); and 1 private port (Benicia). The ports of Oakland, Stockton, and West Sacramento are developing a new barge shipping service funded through a federal TIGER grant. For more information, see below.
Seaports and Map
Reports, Studies, and Plans
- San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) 2006 and CAAP 2010 Update; Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles
- Trade Impact Study Final Report (BST Associates, prepared for the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, and the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, March 2007)
- Port Efficiency and Trade Flows (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Navigation Economic Technologies Program, November 2006)
- Freight Transportation: Short Sea Shipping Option Shows Importance of Systematic Approach to Public Investment Decisions (Government Accountability Office, Report 05-768, July 2005)
- Special Report 279: The Marine Transportation System and the Federal Role: Measuring Performance, Targeting Improvement (Transportation Research Board, 2004)
- US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) Reports
Associations, Councils and Commissions
Reference & Port News
Marine Highway Project
The purpose of the California Green Trade Corridor / Marine Highway Project is to use barges to move bulk cargo along inland waterways, creating an alternative to conventional freight and cargo movement by trucks and rail.
On February 17, 2010, a $30 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER 1) grant was awarded to the Oakland, Stockton, and West Sacramento ports. Grant funds will be used to upgrade the port facilities and purchase the equipment needed to transport containers. Analysts predict this container-on-barge service could eliminate 180,000 truck trips from I-580, I-80, and I-205 corridors, saving approximately 7 million gallons of fuel annually, as well as reduce air emissions in the process. The ports expect the service to be used primarily for consumer goods and agricultural products grown in Central California and Northern California.