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Image of Message from Chris Lytle, Executive Director

Message from Chris Lytle, Executive Director

Dear Port Partner,

On Feb. 12, 1927, five civic leaders were sworn in under a city charter amendment to govern Oakland’s port. They formed the first Board of Port Commissioners, and the Port of Oakland was born. This weekend is the 90th anniversary of that milestone. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has observed the anniversary with a special proclamation. Now I’d like to weigh in.

I’m honored – and humbled – to be the Executive Director of an organization so important to so many. For nearly a century, the Port of Oakland has made history in global trade and transportation. It has been the economic bedrock for a dynamic city. It has provided jobs – good paying jobs – to thousands, with an emphasis on workers from hard-pressed neighborhoods.

Today Oakland is one of the country’s top 10 container seaports, processing $64 billion in annual trade. Oakland International Airport is the San Francisco Bay Area’s second busiest with 12 million passengers a year. Our Jack London Square – Oakland’s No. 1 entertainment and leisure venue – draws 3 million annual visitors.

Numbers, however, don’t tell the whole story. Here are just some of the Port of Oakland highlights of the past 90 years:

  • We pioneered Transpacific air travel.
  • We welcomed Amelia Earhart.
  • We supplied the troops in World II, Korea and Vietnam.
  • We brought container shipping to the West Coast.
  • We berthed the largest container ship ever to call at a U.S. port.

We’re far from done. We’re now transforming to upgrade our status as a global gateway. The improvements will include a better International Arrivals Building as we expand air service to Europe and Mexico. We’re about to start construction on 750,000 square feet of warehouse space to become the West Coast’s leading seaport logistics center. With nearby residential development and a hotel on the drawing board, Jack London Square will become a 24-hour lifestyle destination.

We’re improving to keep ahead of trends in global trade and transportation. As we do, business volume will grow. So will local employment. And at our 100th anniversary, we’ll have even more to celebrate.


J. Christopher Lytle
Executive Director
Port of Oakland