Port's Maritime Losses
Follow the Series
This is a three-part series, check back for the latest story.
The Port of San Diego is a public agency charged with managing the bayfront. It claims its top goals are strengthening its finances and building public trust. But over the past 15 years, the port has lost tens of millions of dollars in maritime operations. KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma found the port has not clearly documented those losses for the public.
The Port of San Diego’s cargo business has lost tens of millions dollars since 1993. And the marine division has sustained larger losses than the port has admitted to the public. Critics say the port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is partly to blame for the shortfalls.
Reporter Amita Sharma talks to host Gloria Penner about how the Port of San Diego is tracking its revenue and expenses and posting its profits.
The Port of San Diego controls more than 5,000 acres of tidelands and 10,000 acres of the bay. The port is governed by seven unelected commissioners. They decide what to build on the waterfront, how to promote trade and how to keep the bay clean. Critics say that’s too much power with too little oversight.
The Port of San Diego has been keeping two different books for their expenses. One of them has not shown million-dollar losses for years.
The Port of San Diego’s budget is $151 million. About $86 million of its operating revenue comes from real estate waterfront leases each year. Most of the port’s remaining revenue – about $40 million – comes from Marine Operations. This division manages the Tenth Avenue, National City and Cruise Ship terminals.