Studies & Publications

San Diego Unified Port District Analysis (2019)

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Report

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About this publication

The San Diego Unified Port District oversees two maritime cargo terminals and two cruise ship terminals. The District also oversees the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and subtenant businesses around San Diego Bay, including 18 hotels and resorts, 105 restaurants, 22 parks, 20 marinas and yacht clubs, three specialty retail centers, and numerous other attractions including museums and bay tours.

In 2017, the District’s overall economic impact was $9.4 billion, a 22% jump in four years, and a 13% increase over two years according to the 2017 Economic Impact Report. The District’s core services, such as maritime, real estate, harbor police, parking, and attractions, allow the District to generate sufficient revenue to operate without tax dollars. The District has the authority to levy a tax but has not done so since 1970.

These services, along with other operating revenues, non-operating revenues and capital grants and contributions, generated the district $192,192,259 in fiscal year 2018.

Key Findings

The San Diego Unified Port District oversees two maritime cargo terminals and two cruise ship terminals. The District also oversees the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and subtenant businesses around San Diego Bay, including 18 hotels and resorts, 105 restaurants, 22 parks, 20 marinas and yacht clubs, three specialty retail centers, and numerous other attractions including museums and bay tours.


• In 2017, the District’s overall economic impact was $9.4 billion, a 22% jump in four years, and a 13% increase over two years according to the 2017 Economic Impact Report. 

• The District’s core services, such as maritime, real estate, harbor police, parking, and attractions, allow the District to generate sufficient revenue to operate without tax dollars. The District has the authority to levy a tax but has not done so since 1970. 

• These services, along with other operating revenues, non-operating revenues and capital grants and contributions, generated the district $192,192,259 in fiscal year 2018. 

• The San Diego Unified Port District’s largest fiscal year 2018 expenditure was General and Administrative costs, totaling 21.91% of overall expenditures. This includes a $4.1 million increase from prior year, primarily from higher legal expenses related to environmental insurance policies and recovery program, higher personnel expenses including pension cost, enhanced marketing/outreach program, as well as higher information technology and telecommunication expenses. 

• At 50.84% of total revenues, its Real Estate portfolio (including ground leases, parking fees, and concession fees) are the largest source of revenues for the District, consistently increasing since 2009 until parking broke off as a new line of revenue. 

• Because the District does not own the land, Real Estate Operations revenue has historically provided the District with its highest return on investment. In 2017, the District began driving the growth of its parking revenue by creating Port as a Service. This new line of revenue, previously under Real Estate Operations, totaled $16.6 million in fiscal year 2018, a growth of 8.9% from the prior year. 

• The airport is the port’s largest fixed-rent tenant and customer, bringing in $10.2 million in fiscal year 2018 and comprising 51.4% of the total real estate fixed rent revenue. Other customers include The Pasha Group, Manchester Grand Resorts LP, and Ace Parking.

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Port, Economic, Analysis, Policy, Industry, SDTEF

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SDTEF

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