STOCKTON (CBS13) — Over the last year, hundreds of ships made it on to the Port of Stockton, delivering goods and helping create thousands of jobs, and port commissioners are preparing to bring the community more products and employment down the road.
Crews are building and, in some cases, rebuilding infrastructure at the port.
The Port of Stockton continues to be one of the busiest ports in the state, with a combined 464 ships arriving and departing and it’s already created more than 5,000 jobs.
Pacific Spike is just one of the custom-built ships that travel back and forth to Japan.
“I still, at my age, after being here all my life, still get chills every time I see those big ships coming in and out of the port,” said Douglass Wilhoit, CEO, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.
But the ships don’t just travel to the Pacific Ocean. Crews go all over the world importing and exporting products such as grain, cement, and fertilizers.
“It really puts us on the map, but the people that live here are working there and that economy is helping our economy by them spending money here, living here, recreating here, and playing and doing everything and so it trickles down,” he said.
Since 2009, the private sector has invested more than $2 billion in the port with several on-going projects. The port’s director and commissioners are currently working on plans for another $1.5 billion project.
“Those projects, that $2 billion in projects has brought with it more than 2,000 new jobs to our community, the ones we are negotiating is about another 1,500,” said Richard Aschieris, director of the Port of Stockton.
Leaders say the main reason they are doing so well is because the Port of Stockton has more land than most west coast ports of off board product, 7 million square feet to be exact.
To make sure ships are still coming and going, a plan is in the works to keep things safe from all the recent high water, which brings a lot of channel clogging debris downstream.
“A lot of the runoff that is coming down the San Joaquin River actually ends up coming right here in the ship channel and we are working very closely with the Army Corps. Of Engineers, the river pilots that bring the ships in and the coast guard to make sure our ship channel remain functioning,” said Aschieris.
The Port of Stockton is offering free boat tours to the community starting this summer so residents can get to know some of the big landmarks in our community.