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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 Big weekend at Jack London Square with Oakland Dance Festival and more
Big weekend at Jack London Square with Oakland Dance Festival and more
April 27th, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – April 27, 2017: Jack London Square is ready for a big weekend of recreation with dancing performances, bowling, and kayaking on the Oakland Estuary. Oakland Dance Festival brings... READ MORE
Thumbnail of Port of Oakland Commissioner receives democracy award
Port of Oakland Commissioner receives democracy award
April 20th, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – April 20, 2017:  Port of Oakland Commissioner Arabella Martinez has received the Making Democracy Work award from the League of Women Voters of Oakland at their 26th annual... READ MORE
Thumbnail of New, Oakland-grown, urban dance competition comes to Jack London Square
New, Oakland-grown, urban dance competition comes to Jack London Square
April 19th, 2017
Oakland, Calif. – April 19, 2017: It is a first for Oakland and the world - a competition, based on the turf dance phenomenon that originated in Oakland, will take place... READ MORE
Thumbnail of Port of Oakland receives eleventh consecutive energy star certification
Port of Oakland receives eleventh consecutive energy star certification
April 4th, 2017
Oakland, Calif.–April 4, 2017:  Port of Oakland headquarters located at 530 Water Street just received its eleventh consecutive Energy Star certification. Every year the U.S. EPA recognizes buildings nationwide for... READ MORE