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San Diego Port Tenants Association

Partnering with the port for continued success

Volunteers clean up debris from San Diego Bay and its shoreline in the annual San Diego Port Tenants Association Operation Clean Sweep event.

Formed in 1989, the San Diego Port Tenants Association (SDPTA) is a coalition of businesses and industries on the Port Tidelands, better known as San Diego Bay. The SDPTA is dedicated to enhancing trade, commerce and tourism on San Diego Bay’s tidelands, while protecting the area’s environment. The daily operations of this 501(c) (6) nonprofit association are carried out by a two-person staff, with an active 39-member board and various committees.

The businesses located on the Port Tidelands are the main revenue source for the San Diego Unified Port District, which was established in 1962 under the Tidelands Trust. While most other government agencies collect tax dollars from the public, the port does not, and we are very proud to be closely aligned with a self-sustaining governmental organization that directly relies on the success of its counterpart, the tenant businesses.

The SDPTA’s original formation stemmed from a time when the relationship with the port was adversarial, but both the port and its tenants realized that we work better together than we do apart. To this day, we are partners, and we depend on each other — when business is good for the tenants, it’s good for the port.

In 2007, an analysis was performed on the economic and fiscal impact of the Port of San Diego for fiscal year 2005. The study demonstrated that the port’s direct and indirect contribution to regional employment is 77,100 jobs. It also found that the businesses located within the port district’s boundaries generate $10.6 billion in regional economic impact annually. Directly or indirectly, business activities on the Tidelands support one of every 30 civilian jobs in the San Diego region.

SDPTA members are very diverse and consist of representatives of the following industries: manufacturing — including ship building and repair, shipping and trade, and energy. Marine recreation, which includes marinas, commercial fishing and sportfishing, cruise, diving, yacht clubs, boatyards and brokerages, is also part of the membership. The hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, harbor tours, museums and retail merchants, also plays a big role. Additionally, the SDPTA includes strategic partnerships with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy, and incorporates community partnerships with other trade associations and consulting firms. The SDPTA staff works with its members on a variety of committees and coalitions to carry out its message. These committees include Government Affairs, Marine Recreation, Environmental, Marketing, the Working Waterfront Group and Real Estate. The SDPTA also has representation on all of the Port of San Diego’s Advisory Committees.

SDPTA produces an annual environmental cleanup event called “Operation Clean Sweep.” The largest bay wide cleanup of its kind, it is the only volunteer cleanup that involves divers cleaning under San Diego Bay’s surface, and a multi-location shoreside cleanup. This event, executed in partnership with the Port of San Diego, SDG&E, EDCO and the U.S. Navy, draws more than 1,000 volunteer participants each year.

As another year of exciting challenges continues to unfold, the SDPTA remains focused on protecting the interests of its members, while fulfilling its mission. We have a precious resource, the San Diego Bay, which is not only our backyard, but our livelihood, and we work daily with the Port to preserve its success as both a tourist destination and the core for many successful businesses.

-Cloward is the president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association.

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