Port of San Diego Completes Phase One of Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Modernization Project

Aug 10, 2020 | DTJ Online

The Port of San Diego recently completed the first phase of a multi-phased project to modernize its Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. The project, which had been years in the making, broke ground in January 2018.

To help fund the project, the Port applied for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, now known as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant from the US Department of Transportation. The TIGER grant program was the most competitive transportation grant program in the nation. The Port successfully competed against 38 ports and numerous agencies who collectively submitted applications for 20 times more funding than was available. In October 2015, the Port was awarded $10 million. With the TIGER grant funding, the Port was able to begin work on the project that will ultimately maximize the terminal’s cargo potential and bring in additional business, jobs, and money for the region.

The first phase was completed in June 2020 at a cost of approximately $24 million. Referred to as the Modernization, the project removed two obsolete warehouses and created a much-needed laydown area for project cargo. It also included improvements to utilities, new lighting, and pavement. In addition, modular office space, utility enclosures, and restrooms were added, as well as on-dock rail improvements.

The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal has 24 new acres of prime staging and laydown area for the Port of San Diego’s continued commitment as a strategic commercial port. The Port collaborates with the Military Surface Distribution and Deployment Command’s 596th Transportation Brigade and coordinates with the 834th Transportation Battalion on the expeditious movement of military equipment and personnel. The Port has demonstrated its efficient marine operations and global readiness by enabling the dynamic force via ship, rail, truck, and air activities. Its strategic commercial port operations at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal from Fiscal Year 2018 through the Fiscal Year 2020 accounts for $1.5 million in revenues consisting of 61,000 metric tons and a total of over 2,800 units of cargo.

The Modernization project includes significant environmental components. These include future acquisition of 36 pieces of zero and near-zero emissions freight equipment such as forklifts, stackers, and yard trucks. It will also improve the terminal’s environmental sustainability by reducing intra-terminal truck trips and cargo re-handling associated with the operational conflict created by fixed infrastructure. Additionally, an exemplary stormwater treatment system project was developed with a team approach to maximize stormwater capture on the marine terminal. This best management practice was designed and constructed to maximize treatment while allowing it to be implemented in a cost-effective manner.

As an environmental champion of San Diego Bay and its surrounding areas, these environmental components are integral to the project. Adjacent to the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is the neighborhood of Barrio Logan. It is a historic, culturally significant community that has been identified as a “Community of Concern.” The Port worked closely with the community, as well as the regional Environmental Health Coalition, to address neighborhood issues and environmental concerns with the project. As a result of the collaboration, the project will provide a cleaner, smarter cargo terminal that emits fewer pollutants. This project supports and is consistent with the Port of San Diego’s adopted Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions generated from port operations.

The Modernization is the first phase of a larger, market-driven project that supports the Port of San Diego’s specialty cargo advantage by providing laydown space and flexibility for each cargo type. The long-term redevelopment plan envisions three distinct cargo nodes within the existing footprint of the terminal and is focused on current core specialties of project, roll-on/roll-off, and break bulk cargo such as military equipment, wind energy parts, shipbuilding steel, and vehicles; refrigerated containers for fresh produce such as bananas or other produce; and dry bulk cargo such as soda ash, aggregate, and cement.

Future phases of the plan include increasing dry bulk storage capacity known as the Consolidated Bulk Facility, which may include a new, 100,000 square-foot dry bulk structure or an equivalent vertical storage facility. It also includes making enhancements to the terminal’s existing conveyor system, refurbishing the existing molasses tanks, updating an on-dock rail facility with additional rail trackage and increasing Heavy Lift crane capacity. The project is phased through 2034.

Even before the first phase of the Modernization was completed, the Port was able to see the benefits. Shortly after the first transit shed was demolished, the Port secured a three-year contract with G2 Ocean, a break bulk shipping company based in Norway. The new liner service brought steel, coil, yachts, and fertilizer to be processed at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. The contract with G2 brings approximately $350,000 a year in revenue to the Port of San Diego. The Port is working on securing a new liner service to and from Asia. Additionally, Zucarmex, a Mexican sugar producer, signed on with the Port and is part of our long-term breakbulk and project cargo strategy.

Another example of the project’s success was a shipment last summer of massive drill bits, motors, and project pieces for the Los Angeles Basin’s Metro Transportation Project. It’s notable that the products were destined for Los Angeles, but shipped to San Diego, demonstrating the Port’s capability with large project cargo.

The Modernization project has been recognized with several awards including from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2020 for Outstanding Airport and Port Project; from the Construction Management Association of America in 2020 for Transportation Projects under $15 million; and from the California Stormwater Quality Association in 2019 for Outstanding Industrial Stormwater BMP Implementation Project.

The Port of San Diego has leveraged its natural advantages to become a leading, West Coast specialty port. Comprised of two terminals, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and the National City Marine Terminal, it is a natural, deep-water, protected harbor that is uncongested and due to the temperate climate, ideal for handling all types of cargo year-round. Due to its strategic location, the Port of San Diego services goods movement two and from Mexico, Central, and South America.

The Port of San Diego plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the coming weeks to commemorate the completion of the Modernization’s first phase.


Photo Caption: Military cargo is loaded at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Photo courtesy of The Port of San Diego.

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