The Port of Los Angeles, also called Los Angeles Harbor and
WORLDPORT L.A, is a port complex that occupies 7,500 acres (3,000 ha) of
land and water along 43 mi (69 km) of waterfront. The port is located on
San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles,
approximately 20 mi (32 km) south of downtown. The Port of Los Angeles
adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach, employs over 16,000 people, and
is the busiest container port in the United States. For public safety,
the Port of Los Angeles utilizes the Los Angeles Port Police to fight
crime and terrorism, and the Los Angeles City Lifeguards to provide
lifeguarding services for inner Cabrillo Beach.
San Pedro is the home of The Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center.
Major Cruise Lines offer vacation cruises to Baja California, the
Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, and other destinations around the
world. Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises, the
Cunard Line, the Disney Cruise Line, the Holland American Line, the
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven
Seas Cruises, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Catalina Express,
along with other cruise lines offer frequent sailings that make San
Pedro the busiest passenger port of call on the United States West
Coast. Carnival Cruise Lines departs from Long Beach, California. San
Pedro remains the easy and economical place to stay before and after
your cruise. Find your your San Pedro Hotel discount deal here.
Most Carnival Cruise Line Ships and some ships of the cruise lines
owned by Carnival Corporation arrive and depart from Long Beach. All
other Cruise ships depart from the The Port of Los Angeles World Cruise
Center in San Pedro. Starting on September 2011, the Carnival Spirit
will be departing from San Pedro.
The L.A. Harbor, 1899In 1542, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discovered the
"Bay of Smokes". The south-facing San Pedro Bay was originally a shallow
mudflat, too soft to support a wharf. Visiting ships had two choices:
stay far out at anchor and have their goods and passengers ferried to
shore; or beach themselves. That sticky process is described in Two
Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., who was a crew member
on an 1834 voyage that visited San Pedro Bay. Phineas Banning greatly
improved shipping when he dredged the channel to Wilmington in 1871 to a
depth of 10 feet (3.0 m). The port handled 50,000 tons of shipping that
year. Banning owned a stagecoach line with routes connecting San Pedro
to Salt Lake City, Utah and to Yuma, Arizona, and in 1868 he built a
railroad to connect San Pedro Bay to Los Angeles, the first in the area.
Port of Los Angeles, 1913
View of Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach from Palos VerdesAfter
Banning's death in 1885 his sons pursued their interests in promoting
the port, which handled 500,000 tons of shipping in that year. The
Southern Pacific Railroad and Collis P. Huntington wanted to create Port
Los Angeles at Santa Monica, and built the Long Wharf there in 1893.
However the Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis and U.S.
Senator Stephen White pushed for federal support of the Port of Los
Angeles at San Pedro Bay. The Free Harbor Fight was settled when San
Pedro was endorsed in 1897 by a commission headed by Rear Admiral John
C. Walker (who later went to become the chair of the Isthmian Canal
Commission in 1904). With U.S government support breakwater construction
began in 1899 and the area was annexed to Los Angeles in 1909. The Los
Angeles Harbor Commission was founded in 1907.
In 1912 the Southern Pacific Railroad completed its first major wharf
at the port. During the 1920s, the port passed San Francisco as the west
coast's busiest seaport. In the early 1930s a massive expansion of the
port was taken with the construction of a massive breakwater three miles
out that was over 2 miles in length. In addition to the construction of
this outer breakwater an inner breakwater was built off of Terminal
Island with docks for sea going ships and smaller docks built at Long
Beach. It was this improved harbor that hosted the sailing events for
the 1932 Summer Olympics. During World War II the port was primarily
used for shipbuilding, employing more than 90,000 people. In 1959,
Matson Navigation Company's Hawaiian Merchant delivered 20 containers to
the port, beginning the shift to containerization at the port. The
opening of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in 1963 greatly improved access to
Terminal Island and allowed to increased traffic and further expansion
of the port. In 1985, the port handled one million containers in a year
for the first time. In 2000, The Pier 400 Dredging and Landfill Program,
the largest such project in America, was completed.