The Autoridad de los Puertos de Puerto Rico [Spanish] (the Port Authority of Puerto Rico), formerly known as the Transportation Authority of Puerto Rico, is a public corporation created by the United States' territory by act of law in 1942. In 1950, the agency was transferred to the Economic Development Administration. In 1971, the Port Authority was moved to the Department of Transportation and Public Works.
La Autoridad de los Puertos de Puerto Rico is governed by a Board of Directors headed by an Executive Director with members representing the Department of Transportation and Public Works (chair), the Department of Economic Development and Trade, the Manager Industrial Development Company, the Tourism Company, and a member representing public interests. [all links to Spanish language sites]
Originally, the port authority for the Port of San Juan was responsible for the bus service. In 1946, the Division of Harbors and Docks was created with responsibility for managing the Port of San Juan. Today, the port authority for the Port of San Juan owns, operates, and manages port facilities handling both cargo and passengers.
The Port Authority of Puerto Rico owns, operates, and manages facilities for cargo and cruise vessels. In total, the port authority has 6.9 kilometers (22.7 thousand feet) of berthing including 34 docks and 46 berths. The port authority has 10.2 hectares of storage and 13.9 hectares of open space.
Port of San Juan facilities are located in the historic maritime area called Old San Juan, the Puerta de Tierra, Isla Grande, and Puerto Nuevo. The Maritime Operations Division of the port authority approves the use of Port of San Juan facilities and regulates navigation and maritime traffic in all navigable waters in Puerto Rico.
The Port of San Juan offers a variety of services to the shipping industry that include tugs, pilotage, fuel delivery, water supply, provisions, customs, duty-free shops, public transportation, water supply, and vessel maintenance. The facilities owned and operated by the port authority handle 90% of the goods moving through the Port of San Juan.
The Port of San Juan includes the only bay on Puerto Rico's north coast. The bay is almost completely surrounded by land and is a safe harbor during the hurricane season. The Port of San Juan includes six navigation channels. The canal entrance to the bay is 12.8 meters (42 feet) deep. The main entrance for ships is 12.2 meters (40 feet) deep. The Graving Dock and new port channel are both 11.0 meters (36 feet) deep. The San Antonio Canal is 10.7 meters (35 feet) deep, and the Sabana Access Channel is 9.8 meters (32 feet) deep.
The Port of San Juan boasts a new integrated security system that includes 153 cameras and covers almost 18 kilometers (11 miles) of the perimeter of the bay. A central office provides electronic surveillance and control for maritime operations. The Ships Docks & Management System is used to charge for the use of marine facilities in the Port of San Juan.
The Port of San Juan is one of the Caribbean region's most popular tourist destinations. In 2010, almost 1.2 million passengers and 466 trips used the Port of San Juan, which can berth eight cruise vessels at the same time.
Most of the Port of San Juan facilities are located along the San Antonio Canal in the southern part of San Juan Bay just south of Old San Juan and northwest of the convention center district and the Isla Grande Airport.
Five of the Port of San Juan's eight cargo terminals are located in the Puerto Nuevo district, and three are located in the Guaynabo municipality. The Port of San Juan offers a total of 4.6 hectares of space for loading/unloading cargo. Port of San Juan facilities have immediate access to the country's system of expressways and highways, facilitating the efficient movement of goods throughout the metropolitan area and the island.
Most of the cargo facilities in the Port of San Juan are located at Puerta de Tierra and Isla Grande. Pier 8 is used to handle general cargo. With capacity to berth three vessels at the same time, Pier 8 has 179.8 meters (590 feet) of berthing space with water and electricity. The Port of San Juan's Pier 8 has almost five acres of open storage.
Pier 9 in the Port of San Juan is a general cargo dock with three berths totaling 199.6 meters (655 feet) long. Water and electricity are available at the Port of San Juan's Pier 9, and there are four acres of open space at the pier.
Piers 11 through 14 in the Port of San Juan receive large shipments of foreign cargo. Pier 11 in the Port of San Juan handles general cargo. It offers 167.6 meters (580 feet) of berthing space with water and electricity. Pier 12, also used for general cargo, is an extension of Pier 11. The Port of San Juan's Pier 12 has 176.8 meters (550 feet) of berthing space and is equipped with water and electricity.
Pier 13 in the Port of San Juan serves as an extension to Pier 12. Pier 13 has new covered storage of over 5.5 thousand square meters (60 thousand square feet) for loose cargo in addition to over 2.1 thousand square meters (23 thousand square feet) of open space. The Port of San Juan's Pier 14 has berthing distance of 135.9 meters (446 feet).
The port authority for the Port of San Juan's Piers 15 and 16 were acquired in the late 1990s to handle general cargoes. They also have a dry dock for the maintenance and repair of vessels.
On the south Banks of the San Antonio Canal is the Quay West Big Island facility. Used to handle general cargo, the pier has 457.2 meters (1500 feet) of berthing space and 2.2 hectares of open storage. Water and electricity are available at these Port of San Juan facilities.
The Port of San Juan's Pier 10 is used to handle small freight moving to and from the Virgin Islands.
The Port of San Juan's Big Island area can dock two general cargo vessels at the same time. It offers berthing distance of 609.6 meters (2000 feet) with alongside depth of 8.2 meters (27 feet).
With 15 piers in the San Antonio Canal, the Port of San Juan has four piers dedicated to cruise ships. All facilities serving cruise passengers are within walking distance of Old San Juan and the Puerto Rico Convention Center District. The Port of San Juan cruise ship docks are just 11.3 kilometers (7 miles) from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.
Cruise facilities nearest Old San Juan are located at Pier 1. With capacity for two mega-cruise vessels and as many as five thousand passengers, Pier 1 has berthing distance of 234.7 meters (770 feet).
In 2006, Pier 3 opened for cruise traffic on the outskirts of Old San Juan. The modern facilities can handle five thousand passengers and two cruise ships at the same time. Pier 4, also located on the outskirts of Old San Juan, opened in 1992 and was renovated in 2005. The new facility includes parking and commercial concessions. With berthing distance of 364.5 meters (1196 feet), Pier 4 can serve two mega-cruise vessels at the same time.
Used in the past for handling automobiles and building materials, the Muelle Panamericano in the Port of San Juan has two passenger terminals and, with berthing distance of 609.6 meters (2000 feet), can dock two mega-cruise vessels at the same time.
The Dry Dock facilities are located between Piers 15 and 16 in the Port of San Juan. The dry dock is about 182.9 meters (600 feet) with alongside depth of 7.9 meters (26 feet). The Dry Dock facilities have about 2.3 thousand square meters (25.2 thousand square feet) of workshops and limited parking.
San Juan Bay Pilots have served the Port of San Juan for 100 years. With a cadre of skilled and experienced pilots, the San Juan Bay Pilots Corporation supports safe and efficient navigation in the Port of San Juan despite heavy rain, high tides, and shifting currents. The pilots work closely with the US Coast Guard, shipping agencies, tug companies, and Port of San Juan customers to assure timely safe movement of cargo and passengers into and out of the Port of San Juan.