SAN DIEGO -- The public doesn’t get to see how these essential imports get into our country. On Tuesday, the Unified Port of San Diego gave FOX 5 a special tour of its two deep-water ports to kick off Maritime Month.
Whether it’s your car or the food in your kitchen, there's a good chance you used a product that came through Unified Port of San Diego, the fourth largest port in California.
One out of every 10 imported cars in the country come through the port in National City, on ships like the MV Jean Anne.
“These cars on our vessel are actually coming to and from the Hawaiian Islands. We have a large rent-a-car market there,” John Pasha Senior Vice President of Pasha Automotive Services said. “We're doing a lot of vehicles for the different rental agencies. We also do a lot of over high and wide cargos like agricultural equipment.”
Pasha Automotive Services is one of about 600 businesses that have a lease with the port authority.
The majority of those businesses specialize in tourism, but industrial businesses like Pasha are heavy hitters in the region with an economic impact of more than $7.6 billion.
The ports are a gateway for other imports like windmills and a large portion of the nations imported produce like pineapples, mangos and bananas.
More than 3 billion bananas come through the Tenth Street terminal every year, which is every Dole banana west of the Mississippi.
“We're very important as a strategic port here and what we're seeing is an upturn in the amount of cargo coming in with the economy increasing,” Jim Hutzelman Manager of Community Services at the Unified Port of San Diego said. “We think there are great things ahead for our working waterfront and for the industrial businesses along San Diego Bay.”
Port activity also generates 19,000 skilled jobs, which one more reason why it's called the working waterfront.