An Introduction to America's Port®

The Port of Los Angeles is one of the world’s busiest seaports and leading gateway for international trade in the Western Hemisphere. It has ranked as the No. 1 container port in the United States for 24 consecutive years (2000-2023). Here are the basics:


The Port of Los Angeles is a department of the City of Los Angeles (also known as the Los Angeles Harbor Department) and is governed by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles. Although the Port is a City department, it is not supported by City taxes. Operating as a landlord port with more than 200 leaseholders, the Port generates its revenues from leasing and shipping service fees.


Located along 43 miles of waterfront, the Port of Los Angeles encompasses 7,500 acres and features both passenger and marine terminals.


The City of Los Angeles created the Board of Harbor Commissioners Dec. 9, 1907, thus marking the official founding of the Port of Los Angeles. The cities of San Pedro and Wilmington were annexed to the City of Los Angeles Aug. 28, 1909, making the Port of Los Angeles an official department of the City of Los Angeles.


The Port of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro Bay, 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, and its jurisdiction is the Harbor District, which includes property in the Los Angeles communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, and Terminal Island. All Port operations are managed by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in accordance with the Public Trust Doctrine to promote maritime, commerce, navigation, fisheries, and public access to the waterfront. 


A major economic driver at the local, regional, and national levels, the Port of Los Angeles is a key generator of jobs, commerce and tourism in Southern California. One in nine jobs in the greater Los Angeles region can be connected to the San Pedro Bay Port Complex—which includes the Port of Los Angeles and its neighboring Port of Long Beach (a separate entity and department of the City of Long Beach).


The Port of Los Angeles’ containerized cargo business is necessary to continue investing in the future and surrounding harbor communities. Retaining that cargo business success is also essential to the Port maintaining its role as a global model for security, sustainability and social responsibility.