The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is an independent public authority responsible for developing, promoting, and managing the State's globally competitive seaports, airports, and transportation infrastructure. In addition to operating Boston Logan International Airport, Massport's terminals handle over a million tons of cargo in the Port of Boston each year. Massport's Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is a popular port of call for luxury cruise liners.
Massport's mission is promoting economic growth and health throughout the State by assuring the region's transportation facilities are safe, secure, and efficient while also protecting the environment. Massport is governed by a Board of seven members appointed by the Governor. Established by the Massachusetts legislature in 1959, the State's Secretary of Transportation and Public Works is an ex-officio member of the board. Massport is self-supporting, receiving no state funds, and contributes almost $9 billion per year to the State's economy.
In 2008, the Port of Boston handled a total of 15.5 million tons of cargo. The Port of Boston's Conley Terminal served 242 container ships carrying 1.5 million tons of containerized cargo in 208.4 thousand TEUs, including 973.4 thousand tons of imports (in 101.7 thousand TEUs) and over 496 thousand tons of exports (in 62.6 thousand TEUs). The Port of Boston served 32 auto vessels and processed over 26.7 thousand automobiles. Bulk cargo imports of 12.4 million tons arrived at the Port of Boston in 2008, including petroleum products (6.8 million tons), liquefied natural gas (2.6 million tons), other bulk cargoes (2.1 million tons), salt (688.7 thousand tons), cement (161.7 thousand tons), and gypsum (27.7 thousand tons). Bulk cargo exports of 800.5 thousand tons left the Port of Boston in 2008, including scrap metal (540 thousand tons), other bulk cargoes (135.6 thousand tons), and automobiles (21.7 thousand tons). The Port of Boston also served 113 cruise vessel sailings and 269.9 cruise passengers in 2008.
The 21st Century Port of Boston has changed dramatically from its days of stagnation after World War II. In 1956, an unproductive local port commission was replaced by Massport which immediately began rehabilitating deteriorated properties, updating rail and road connections, and preparing the Port of Boston to be an effective part of the modern world shipping industry. The Castle Island Container Terminal was built in 1966 for container shipping pioneer Sea-Land, and it became one of the USA's first container terminals.
As the shipping industry converted to container shipping in the early 1970s, Massport built a second container terminal in the Port of Boston's Charlestown. In 1980, Sea-Land moved from the Castle Island Terminal to a new, bigger common-user facility, Conley Terminal, built by Massport. Since then, the Port of Boston has become one of the United States' most efficient modern container ports. The Port of Boston is also home to a huge complex of private petroleum and liquefied natural gas terminals. It contains two shipyards, world-famous marine research institutions, several private and public ferry operations, an important Coast Guard facility, and one of the country's most productive fishing ports.
The Port of Boston's Conley Container Terminal is the hub of the port's cargo-handling facilities. Capable of loading/unloading many container vessels at the same time, the terminal has four post-Panamax container gantry cranes. The Conley Container Terminal in the Port of Boston can handle the largest container ships on the Atlantic, it is only 6.4 kilometers from the open ocean. The almost 41 hectare terminal has a total of 609.6 meters in the Port of Boston's Berths 11 and 12, of which 335.3 meters has alongside depth of 14.1 meters, and 274.3 meters has alongside depth of 12.2 meters.
The Port of Boston's Conley terminal has a state-of-the-art 10-lane gate facility with a computer tracking system. The Conley terminal has reefer capacity for 160 containers. It is connected by dedicated haul road to Interstate highways -93, -90, and -95 and to the rail transfer facility at Beacon Park. Berths 13 through 15 in the Port of Boston are 762 meters long with alongside depth of 10.6 meters, and they are supported by a 10.5 hectare open container storage yard.
The Boston Autoport opened in 1998 in Charlestown at what had been the Moran Container Terminal and Mystic Pier One. The Port of Boston's Autoport handles, processes, and distributes automobile imports of about 50 thousand cars per year. It also provides covered storage for high-end automobiles. Boston Autoport is a fully dedicated terminal with efficient access to highways, and it is served by a fully-trained and dedicated Port of Boston labor pool. Its offers ice-free deep-draft berths that are protected from all weather conditions.
In addition to Boston Autoport, other Port of Boston properties in Charlestown include maritime industrial facilities. Mystic Piers 48, 49, and 50 make up a waterfront bulk cargo terminal near Tobin Bridge. Covering about 1.4 hectares in the Port of Boston, the site has stored and distributed imported salt since the 1980s. The Mystic Piers have berthing space of about 3.7 thousand square meters and alongside depth of 10.7 meters.
The Port of Boston's Medford Street Terminal consists of the Sumerville Lumber warehouse and Revere Sugar Refinery properties that Massport acquired in 1986 for marine use. Covering about 5.7 hectares in the Port of Boston, the terminal has a 12.2 meter deep-water berth, gravel and paved areas, and office and warehouse space.
Port of Boston maritime industrial properties in East Boston include Pier 1 and the East Boston Shipyard. The East Boston Shipyard/Marina was an important shipbuilding and repair facility during World War II. It was purchased by Massport in 1985, and it is the only ship repair facility in the Port of Boston that can serve mid-sized commercial vessels. The shipyard's piers contain 762 meters of commercial berthing space, an operational graving dock, and 180 marina slips. The facility includes 3.6 hectares of backland with four piers and 12 structures covering a total of 18.6 thousand square meters for commercial offices and industry.
In addition to the Port of Boston's Conley Terminal and the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, South Boston properties include the Boston Fish Pier, Massport Marine Terminal, Fargo Street Terminal, and the International Cargo Port.
Built in 1912, the Port of Boston's historic Boston Fish Pier contains three buildings − two buildings connected by archways and the Exchange Building. The Fish Pier is the oldest working fish pier in the United States. Massport acquired it in 1972 and is committed to using the Fish Pier to support commercial fishing in the Port of Boston and Boston Harbor. The three-story buildings contain about 3.7 thousand square meters of office space in addition to fish processing facilities.
The Port of Boston's International Cargo Port is located in South Boston next to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. The facility contains about 18.6 thousand square meters of prime office space and the same amount of modern intermodal cargo warehouse space. Companies engaged in international trade and commerce occupy the space, which is located in the Port of Boston's Foreign Trade Zone #27 and served rail, ship, and truck transportation.
The Fargo Street Terminal in the Port of Boston includes about 6.1 hectares of flat paved land that has traditionally been used for maritime and other industries including vehicle storage and support activities for the Conley Terminal and Black Falcon Cruise Terminal.
The Massport Marine Terminal (MMT)/North Jetty in the Port of Boston's Marine Industrial Park at the waterfront. The MMT occupies space used by the US Navy in the 1980s and contains 243.8 meters of berthing space with alongside depth of 12.2 meters. Massport plans to use these Port of Boston facilities for a mix of maritime industrial uses including seafood processing, cargo warehousing, and bulk cargo operations. The MMT is near the Port of Boston's deep-draft navigation channels, near designated truck routes, and accessible to the interstate highways system.
About four hectares of the MMT facility is dedicated to the development of modern seafood processing or related facilities supporting the fishing industry. The new Port of Boston facilities will supplement Massport-owned seafood-processing operations at the Fish Pier and the New Boston Seafood Center. Being developed in stages, the six thousand square meter multi-tenant Harbor Seafood Center opened in 2001. Legal Seafood's almost seven thousand square meter facility and headquarters began operating in the Port of Boston in 2003. The remaining 12 hectares at the MMT/North Jetty facility have been used during the construction of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project known as the Big Dig and will be released for Port of Boston redevelopment as that project is completed.
Cruisepport Boston is just ten minutes from Boston Logan International Airport and some of the Port of Boston's most popular historic and shopping areas. The cruise season in the lasts from April until November, and over 100 vessels called at the Port of Boston in 2009 as they sailed along the New England/Canadian coastline and south to the Caribbean or across the Atlantic to Europe. Today, 15 major cruise lines call at the Port of Boston.