The Port of San Diego: a port of the future

The Port of San Diego: a port of the future

Innovation & Environment on San Diego Bay

In celebration of Oceanology International’s 50th anniversary, the Oi Americas conference will take place on the Port of San Diego’s dynamic San Diego Bay waterfront, where we champion clean water, innovative technology, and a bright future not only for San Diego, but all who are dependent on our precious resources. Each year, the Port is implementing new campaigns to reduce environmental impact and is proud to be a part of this year’s Oceanology International Americas. We look forward to engaging with and learning from businesses and organizations from around the world in a spirit of collaboration aimed to further the best technology and research in marine science.

The Port of San Diego is home to two marine cargo terminals, two cruise terminals, two commercial fishing docks, 22 public parks, 18 hotels, over 70 restaurants and more. Each of these assets depend on the water and enables residents and visitors to enjoy San Diego Bay for leisure, tourism, business and everything in between. Our Port Environment team ensures these purposes are balanced with conservation and enhancement of the bay’s natural resources..

Shared collaboration and education of Oceanology International attendees will contribute to the future of San Diego Bay and the world. The Port will be hosting a session entitled, “Meet the Port of San Diego: Waterfront of Opportunity,” discussing the topics below in depth to allow discussion and networking with various Port staff.

Blue Economy Incubator

With our shipbuilding, commercial fishing, marine research, cruise, and cargo business lines, the Port of San Diego is a long-time champion and catalyst of our region’s Blue Economy. Initiatives such as the Blue Economy Incubator assist in creation, development and scaling of business ventures bringing a positive impact to the water. By breaking down some of the common barriers to entry for entrepreneurs, the missions of the companies can be furthered, impacting more than just San Diego Bay.

Current projects have already made an incredible impact on our bay. In 2018, Zephyr Debris Removal, LLC removed 15 tons of trash and debris from the water using a custom vessel that can access rough or shallow areas difficult for other vessels to reach. Another incubator participant, Sunken Seaweed, established a seaweed pilot farm in which the goal is to cultivate, grow, and harvest several species of native marine macroalgae as a culinary product. Not only will the seaweed benefit chefs, but San Diego Bay will benefit from the effects of bioremediation and carbon sequestration.

Our Blue Economy Incubator team is particularly interested in hearing about projects and new technologies that can help the Port diversify our economic growth while furthering our environmental efforts.

Environmental Protection, Conservation, and Enhancement of San Diego Bay

Ensuring San Diego Bay remains a vital resource and contributes to a remarkable way of life for visitors and residents is at the core of the Port of San Diego’s mission. San Diego Bay faces diverse and evolving challenges in environmental protection. To combat this, the Port has a number of programs and initiatives on stormwater, dissolved copper, pollution, and water monitoring. Stormwater is one of the leading causes of pollution into receiving waters and removing contaminants, especially metals, poses a challenge to stormwater management programs. Additionally, the Port enacted a Copper Reduction Program focused on removing dissolved copper from the waters of San Diego Bay. Other types of marine debris affect water quality and is one of the largest pollution issues worldwide. The Port is tackling this global issue by acting locally and collaborating with other organizations to create a widespread impact.

Do you have in situ monitoring abilities to detect contaminants or technologies aimed at cleaning sediments that could enhance current monitoring and assessment practices, or solutions to any of the challenges facing the bay? Come talk to us! Through collaboration, innovation, and shared opportunity, these challenges can be overcome, and the bay and ocean can have a sustainable future.

Maritime Awareness in a Multi-Use Ocean Space

San Diego residents, visitors, and wildlife depend on the local ocean space for a variety of uses and will need this resource for generations to come. The California State Lands Commission and the Port of San Diego formed the San Diego Ocean Planning Partnership, a collaborative pilot project to identify current ocean uses offshore San Diego County. The dynamic and interconnected relationship between those uses and the ocean environment necessitates a process that considers ways to effectively and responsibly inform decision-making on oceanic activities.

As a contributor to the Ocean International Americas, the Port of San Diego looks forward to the opportunity to discuss innovative and collaborative solutions for maritime awareness in a multi-use ocean space.

Emergency Response and Security & Marine Inspections and Investigations

San Diego Bay’s popularity as a tourist and recreational destination, its cargo, cruise and shipbuilding business activity, its Navy presence and its close proximity to the border creates a need for excellence in emergency response and security both on and off land. By safeguarding the waterfront parks and land, maintaining homeland security, and collaborating with agency partners to deter crime locally and abroad, the Port’s Harbor Police Department deploys K-9 units, trained drive teams, marine firefighting and more to ensure the safety of those who work on and visit San Diego Bay.

The Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department is interested in collaboration in technological innovations related to marine firefighting, maritime law enforcement and security, and harbor critical infrastructure protection.

Energy, Sustainability, and Coastal Resiliency

To ensure a sustainable and resilient waterfront and seaport, the Port of San Diego continually sets and measures environmental goals to evolve sustainable initiatives. In 2013, the Port became the one of the first ports in the nation to adopt a Climate Action Plan to establish greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Initiatives such as the installation of a solar-powered microgrid at one of our cargo terminals and shifting to zero emission heavy-duty vehicles on our terminals contribute to the goals outlined in the Port’s Climate Action Plan. Future goals and points for collaboration include finding cost-effective, technological solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the marine sector, deployment of renewable energy solutions in the ocean environment, and tracking of greenhouse gas emissions and reduction efforts.

The Port is also collaborating with its neighbors to address sea level rise and its potential impacts on the San Diego Bay waterfront. By working with the U.S. Navy and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, along with other potential partners, the Port seeks innovative and sustainable shoreline solutions to reduce coastal flooding and inundation exacerbated by future sea level rise.

Discussion of innovative and collaborative solutions for reducing emissions in the marine environment and improving coastal resiliency is imperative for the future ocean health and longevity.

Asset Management – Inspection, Maintenance, and Sustainment of Port Assets

The Port of San Diego is a powerful economic engine, providing approximately 68,306 jobs regionally and contributing $8.3 billion in overall economic impact. Maintaining the assets associated with operations is essential for continued business and safety of all stakeholders. Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are not only congruent, but complimentary. The Port of San Diego General Services Department provides essential maintenance of the Port’s assets including the use of environmental Best Management Practices (BMPs), incorporation of advanced technology to maximize maintenance efficiencies and other forward-thinking procedures.

By providing cost-effective, reliable, and responsive support services through sustainable maintenance of assets, the Port can thrive along with the bay. Options for collaboration in solutions to support excellence, innovation, and leadership in maintenance and support services are welcome.

To learn more about the Port of San Diego Environment programs, visit

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