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Ports : Port of Oakland – Long History spanning 165 years

 It was the first major port on the West Coast to build terminals for container ships

Port history spans a period of 165 years, which encompassed the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, two World Wars, and America’s coming of age as a global power. We begin with Captain Thomas Gray, grandfather of the famous dancer Isadora Duncan, who initiated ferry service to San Francisco. In 1893, the City of Oakland wrested ownership of the Port from the Southern Pacific railroad and has overseen Port operations ever since. In the late 1960s, it was the first major port on the West Coast to build terminals for container ships, revolutionary technology at the time.

history terminal

Oakland rose to become the second-largest container port in the world. The Port has maintained its prominence in the shipping industry thanks to strong leadership and constant innovation. Today, we are one of the ten busiest container ports in the U.S., handling 99% of all containerized goods in our home region of Northern California. The Seaport powers nearly 40% of regional jobs generated by the Port.

Our Airport

Oakland Municipal Airport, constructed in 1927, is perhaps best known as the departure point for Amelia Earhart on her fateful round-the-world flight in 1937. Five years later, the Airport, dramatically curtailed commercial operations to become a staging center for U.S. forces in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. In 1962 completion of the $20 million, 600-acre Oakland International Airport (OAK) complex inaugurated the era of the jetliner.

history terminal

Over the last 54 years, OAK has grown to become the fourth-largest international visitor gateway in California, welcoming nearly 10 million passengers annually. Shipping giants FedEx and UPS have West Coast hubs at OAK, generating 2.6 million regional jobs. With the best on-time arrival and departure rates of the local five Bay Area airports, a central location with easy highway access, public transportation, and many parking options, it’s easy to see why OAK is increasingly popular with regional passengers. New carriers and flight destinations are being added to offer travelers and cargo shippers ever more convenient and cost-effective choices. The Airport powers nearly 53% of regional jobs generated by the Port.

Our Commercial Real Estate (CRE)

Jack London’s favorite saloon, Heinold’s First & Last Chance, still stands today at Jack London Square, adjacent to a portion of his 1898 Yukon cabin which was moved to Oakland in 1969. Today, this humble, one-room bar anchors Jack London Square (JLS), one of the most robust waterfront development properties in the U.S. Thanks to a California State Tidelands Trust grant, the Port of Oakland is steward to 875+ acres of commercial land on waterfront property.

Hundreds of vacant and underused lots are being converted into homes, hotels, offices, shops, restaurants, parks, and industrial flex/research projects through private investment dollars. JLS is a major player in Oakland’s current urban renaissance, creating jobs, housing, recreation and leisure activities, and exceptional investment opportunities. JLS hosts large public educational and recreational events throughout the year, making it a cultural hub for one of the most diverse cities in America. Our commercial real estate division powers nearly 8% of regional jobs generated by the

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights, and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports nearly 50,000 jobs in the region and over 800,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland.

Image of Port

Board of Commissioners

The City of Oakland Charter gives the Board of Port Commissioners exclusive control and management of the Port of Oakland. Our Board consists of seven members nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the City Council for four-year terms. Members must live in Oakland during their term and at least 30 days prior to their appointment. Port Commissioners donate their time to the Board as they serve without salary or compensation.

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