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History

Our Seaport

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 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 the then-revolutionary container ships, becoming the second largest port in the world in container. The Port has maintained its prominence in the shipping industry thanks to strong leadership and constant innovation. Today, we are the fifth busiest container Port in the U.S., handling 99% of all containerized goods in 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. 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 (CRD)

Jack London's favorite saloon, Heinhold'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 Port.


Robert Bernardo
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Communications Manager
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Thumbnail of Port of Oakland says hundreds of new jobs are on the way
Port of Oakland says hundreds of new jobs are on the way
March 21st, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – March 21, 2017: Industrial development will soon create hundreds of new jobs at the Port of Oakland.  The challenge: finding enough skilled workers to fill them.  That... READ MORE
Thumbnail of Bacon & Beer Festival meets Jack of All Trades fair at Jack London Square
Bacon & Beer Festival meets Jack of All Trades fair at Jack London Square
March 9th, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – March 9, 2017:  The 4th annual Bacon & Beer Festival returns to Jack London Square this Saturday along with the monthly Jack of All Trades fair. Celebrating nostalgic... READ MORE
Thumbnail of Port of Oakland asks middle school's help with messy problem
Port of Oakland asks middle school's help with messy problem
March 7th, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – March 7, 2017: A dozen of this city’s female middle schoolers visit the Port of Oakland tomorrow to learn.  A month later, they’ll be back – this... READ MORE
Thumbnail of Port of Oakland signs Blue & Gold Fleet for free harbor tours
Port of Oakland signs Blue & Gold Fleet for free harbor tours
March 3rd, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – March 3, 2017:  Free Port of Oakland harbor tours will return in May with a new vessel operator.  The Port today announced an agreement with San Francisco-based... READ MORE