Port Story: Port of Los Angeles

Port Story- LA

Port of Los Angeles, also known as America’s Port, was established in 1907 and helped transform Los Angeles into the international trade center of today. While the Port was not officially founded until 1907, it had a 250-year-long history as a center of commerce stemming from California’s roots as a Spanish colony.

Throughout the early 20th century, the Port had an important economic role in not only the state economy but the national and global economy. By 1913, the Port served as the world’s largest lumber importer, used to satisfy the rapid development of the City of Los Angeles. By the 1920s, the Port had surpassed San Fransisco as the West’s busiest port.

The Port was home to the United Fruit Company and imported innumerable amounts of Bananas from South America, and Union Oil and Standard Oil companies, which were vital to the growth of the country’s oil industry. It was also home to the Great White Fleet, the cornerstone of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Big Stick diplomacy. Due to its logistical, economical, and political prominence, the Port of Los Angeles was crucial to the United State’s development of the Panama Canal. During World War II, the Port was a valuable shipbuilding resource, making massive contributions to the war effort, and employing nearly 90,000 people.

Today, the Port of Los Angeles comprises of 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. It features 27 passenger, cargo terminals, and warehouse facilities that handle billions of dollars worth of freight each year. Today, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest port in the United States by container volume and the 19th busiest port in the world.

In 2002, the Board of Harbor Commissioners for terminal and ship operations programs targeted at reducing polluting emissions from vessels and cargo handling equipment as a part of a new sustainability initiative. Their sustainability initiative can be summed up in this quote from the Port of Los Angeles website:

The Port of Los Angeles is committed to promoting responsible growth and supporting innovative development. Utilizing the tenets of sustainability, the Port works toward the best interests of the community, environment, and economy. These principles are practiced through integral considerations during planning, design and construction, and throughout operations and maintenance of Port facilities and structures.

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Port Story is a new series detailing the history and operations of trade ports across the United States and the world. Want to see a port that interests you? Let us know in the comments below, or check out our last installment in the series. 

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Port Story: Port Tampa Bay

Port Story- Tampa BayWe tend to focus on Miami and Jacksonville for international trade coming out of Florida, thinking of them as the only gateway to Central and South America. However, there is another port in Florida that is a primary resource for international trade. Port Tampa Bay ranks 16th in the United States by tonnage in domestic trade, 32nd in foreign trade, and 22nd in total trade. It is the largest, most diversified port in Florida, has an economic impact of more than $15.1 billion, and supports over 80,000 jobs.

Tampa Bay was first mapped by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The port was a safe, warm-water harbor that made it an ideal location for trade between the then-Spanish colony and Cuba. This trade included Cattle, hide, lumber, and more. After the United States had acquired Florida from Spain, the port flourished. New industry and resources led to massive growth in the 1800s. By 1929, a 27-foot channel was in place. The port was a major resource for the United States during World War II, and today the Port is maintained by Port Tampa Bay, Port Authority, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The Tampa seaport, Florida’s largest by acreage, already handles cargo bound for Cuba under waivers to the embargo that allows sales of U.S. agricultural products. In the past 5 years, the seaport has sent about 70.000 tons of freight to Cuba, mostly fertilizer. Other trade lanes of the port include the Caribbean Islands, Central America, and Asia. Port Tampa Bay handles a variety of different industries, such as furniture, electronics, automobiles, construction, and foodstuff. It additionally sees over 900,000 commercial passengers a year in association with various cruise lines.

For more information on Green Worldwide and freight forwarding, visit our website, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Port Story is a new series detailing the history and operations of trade ports across the United States and the world. Want to see a port that interests you? Let us know in the comments below!