The Port of Los Angeles has a long and colorful history, reaching back nearly 500 years to the first Portuguese explorers that came ashore. Known as the “Bahia de Los Fumas,” or Bay of Smoke because of the Native American campsites along the shore, this area remained relatively undeveloped until the late 1700’s when Spanish missionaries decided that they wanted to settle on the West Coast.
As the area grew, the City of Los Angeles saw the value of the San Pedro Bay and officially commissioned the Harbor and Port in 1907. From that point forward the port continued to grow in size and importance, eventually becoming the largest port in the United States, moving the highest number of containers and container value.
The Los Angeles Port Today
Prior to World War II, when shipments came into the port they were packaged into every imaginable container. Boxes of various sizes, pallets of open product, and barrels were common shipping methods. However, this made unloading and loading a slow and tedious process. With the exponential growth that was occurring after the war, a shipping system needed to be created that was fast, economical, and uniform. Thus the shipping container was born.
Shipping containers are the most safe and economical way to import or export goods. Containers move everything from paper products to clothing all over the world. The standard measurement of a container is called a Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit or TEO. The Port of Los Angeles moved a record breaking 7.9 million units in 2011.
Understanding the value of shipping containers and their importance to shipping logistics, the Port has implemented a program that will help businesses learn about exporting, make connections with foreign markets and conduct workshops on how to import and export using container systems. This is all part of the five year plan by the Obama Administration to double export numbers in five years.
Interesting Facts about The Port
Currently, the Port of Los Angeles employs nearly one million people, generating $39 billion in wages and associated taxes. This figure is set to grow as exports expand under the latest government initiatives.
The Port is also a leader in environmental issues. Many regulations have been passed to keep environmental impact to a minimum in the port and all active businesses in the Port must comply. The significant improvement to the environment around the area can easily be seen in the cleanliness and beauty of the area. Additionally, there are many maritime research facilities located within the Port to continue improving the environmental quality of the Port.
The Los Angeles Port is more than just the largest active port in the United States; it is a community, brimming with activities and excitement year-round. The Port is filled with places that you can dine and watch the ships come into port, visit maritime museums, or enjoy a festival.