STOCKTON (CBS13) – The Port of Stockton is trying to position itself for the future.

For decades, agricultural-related products like gypsum from Mexico have been the Port of Stockton’s primary cargo.

And last year the port set a new all-time shipping record.

“We had our best year ever with about $56 million in revenue,” said Pete Grossgart from the Port of Stockton.

How much growth has there been?

In 2017, more than six million tons of cargo came through the port. That’s 300,000 tons more than the year before and nearly double the amount in 2010.

The increase comes in a highly competitive market.

“We’ve got Oakland to the west, San Francisco, Redwood City – we’re competing with all these ports,” Grossgart said.

One of Stockton’s biggest advantages is that it’s still not that busy.

“We have 15 berths, which means when your ship comes in it’s very rare that you’d actually have to wait,” Grossgart said.

Now the port is trying to diversify the kinds of cargo coming through.

“Particularly biofuels and renewable energy,” Grossgart said.

Several years ago, an old coal power plant at the port switched to renewable fuel.

“It was converted to burn hog fuel, woodchips, yard waste, so it’s now one of the cleanest power plants in North America,” Grossgart said.

Port managers say there’s much more room to grow – and they’re hoping ships from around the globe will continue to set sail for Stockton.

“We have about 600 to 700 acres that are available for development,” Grossgart said. “Our goal really is to expand our geographical reach.”

The Port of Stockton is also working to attract a wood-pellet manufacturing plant that could ship the fuel to Japan.

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