Regional-Port-Map-2012The San Diego Unified Port District was created by state legislation in 1962 to promote commerce, navigation, recreation and fisheries for most of the tidelands in the five cities around San Diego Bay (San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado).

The Port has jurisdiction over 3,415 acres of land surrounding San Diego Bay. It is the landlord for 600 bayfront tenants, operates {tip The Port's two marine terminals::The National City Marine Terminal and the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Barrio Logan}two marine terminals{/tip} and two cruise terminals, and maintains 17 parks.

Environmental Health Coalition has a long history of involvement with the Port District, from securing a ban on methyl bromide fumigation at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal to placing fish consumption warning signs at piers to helping it develop an Integrated Pest Management Plan for its parks and buildings.

EHC is a member of the Port's Environment Committee and the Climate and Energy Working Group. EHC also co-chairs the Wildlife Advisory Committee created as part of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan settlement.

Recent and current efforts with the Port District include

Clean Ports Plan

Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and Wildlife Advisory Committee

Climate Mitigation and Action Plan

Sediment Cleanup in San Diego Bay: Several current and former Port tenants have been named as dischargers in a Cleanup and Abatement Order issued by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. These are National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, Inc. (formerly Southwest Marine, Inc.), and Campbell Industries, Inc. The Regional Board reserved the right to add the Port as a discharger in the future if any of its tenants fail to comply with the order.) According to the draft 2012 CAO, the Port is now considered a discharger.


CleanPort2The San Diego Unified Port District maintains two marine terminals: the 140 acre National City Marine Terminal and the 96 acre Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Barrio Logan. These terminals handle a variety of products including fruit, automobiles, lumber, and windmill components.

EHC supports a working waterfront and is working to make certain the Port's operations support a healthy environment.

Diesel pollution from goods movement is a major concern. According to the California Air Resources Board, goods movement related ship and truck traffic have the following health impacts in the San Diego region:

 Health Impact  2005 Estimates   2020 Estimates with no further controls
 Deaths         44 per year  100 per year
 Asthma-related health impacts                    
Asthma attacks  860  2,465
Lost work days  7,630  14,675
Restricted activity days  51,624  164,360
School absence days  19,360  50,842

(2006 Emission Reduction Plan for Ports and Goods Movement in California)

In response, EHC formed United for Clean and Safe Ports in 2006, a coalition of community, health, and labor organizations, and asked the Port to:

  • Reduce diesel pollution from ships docketed at all terminals
  • Create a sustainable energy plan
  • Reduce diesel pollution from trucks servicing the terminals through retrofits and replacement, and strict enforcement of state regulations
  • Reduce diesel pollution from cargo handling equipment through retrofit and replacement.

The Port has made some progress, but EHC continues to advocate for a plan that meets all of these goals, is fully funded, and is strictly enforced.


  • The Port has installed shore power at the Broadway Pier cruise terminal. This allows ships to plug in to the electric grid instead of using their diesel engines for power. Shorepower at the marine terminals has not been accomplished.
  • EHC secured a truck parking and idling ban on residential streets in Barrio Logan.
  • Trucks leaving the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal are not allowed to use Cesar Chavez Parkway and other streets in Barrio Logan to get to Interstate 5, but have been rerouted along Harbor Drive. The Port is working on a reconfiguration of Harbor Drive and freeway entrances that will direct trucks entering the Terminal away from residential Barrio Logan.
  • The Port's and California's "truck rules" have greatly reduced the number of non-compliant trucks at the Port. Non-compliant trucks are lacking proper pollution controls.
  • Cargo handling equipment has been retrofitted or replaced to reduce pollution.
  • The Port is developing a Climate Mitigation and Action Plan.

Unfortunately, these actions have not yet led to decrease in diesel pollution in Barrio Logan. Possible reasons for this are the overall increase in number of truck trips to and from the Port, the use of non-compliant trucks picking up fruit cargos from a warehouse on Main Street, and trucks ignoring the ban on Cesar Chavez Parkway ban on Cesar Chavez Parkway.