Port of Boston

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Port of Boston
Boston Long Wharf.JPG
Long Wharf in downtown Boston, once the main commercial wharf within the port, but now used by ferries and cruise boats.
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
Location Boston, Suffolk County, MA
Coordinates 42°21′48.96″N71°2′11.77″W / 42.3636000°N 71.0366028°W / 42.3636000; -71.0366028 [1] Coordinates: 42°21′48.96″N71°2′11.77″W / 42.3636000°N 71.0366028°W / 42.3636000; -71.0366028 [1]
Operated by Massachusetts Port Authority
Owned by Government of Massachusetts
Type of harborNatural/Artificial
Size of harbor500 acres (200 ha)
Available berths
          Port Director Lisa Wieland
          Draft depth 40 feet
          Air draft Unrestricted

          The Port of Boston, (AMS Seaport Code: 0401, [2] UN/LOCODE: US BOS), is a major seaport located in Boston Harbor and adjacent to the City of Boston. [3] It is the largest port in Massachusetts as well as being one of the principal ports on the east coast of the United States. [1]

          UN/LOCODE, the United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations, is a geographic coding scheme developed and maintained by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). UN/LOCODE assigns codes to locations used in trade and transport with functions such as seaports, rail and road terminals, airports, Postal Exchange Office and border crossing points. The first issue in 1981 contained codes for 8,000 locations. The version from 2011 contained codes for about 82,000 locations.

          Boston Harbor estuary and harbor of Massachusetts Bay in the northeastern United States

          Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeastern United States.

          Massachusetts State of the United States of America

          Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.


          The Port of Boston was historically important for the growth of the City of Boston, and was originally located in what is now the downtown area of the city, called Long Wharf. Land reclamation and conversion to other uses means that the downtown area no longer handles commercial traffic, although there is still considerable ferry and leisure usage at Long Wharf. Today the principal cargo handling facilities are located in the Boston neighborhoods of Charlestown, East Boston, and South Boston, and in the neighboring city of Everett. The Port of Boston has also been an entry point for many immigrants. [4]

          Long Wharf (Boston)

          Long Wharf is a historic pier in Boston, Massachusetts which once extended from State Street nearly a half-mile into Boston Harbor. Today, the much-shortened wharf functions as a dock for passenger ferries and sightseeing boats.

          Land reclamation process of creating new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake

          Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill, is the process of creating new land from oceans, riverbeds, or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or land fill.

          Charlestown, Boston Neighborhood of Boston in Massachusetts, United States

          Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Originally called Mishawum by the Massachusett tribe, it is located on a peninsula north of the Charles River, across from downtown Boston, and also adjoins the Mystic River and Boston Harbor waterways. Charlestown was laid out in 1629 by engineer Thomas Graves, one of its earliest settlers, in the reign of Charles I of England. It was originally a separate town and the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


          The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) was created in 1956 by a special act of the Massachusetts General Court; [5] [6] however, the Authority was not enabled until 1959, [7] due to delay in bond funding. [8] The Authority is an independent public authority, not a state agency. [7] The Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation and Public Works serves as an ex-officio member of the board and the remaining six members are appointed by the governor to staggered seven year terms. [9] Its Board members must be residents of Massachusetts. [7] The Department of Homeland Security also has a presence with United States Customs Service and United States Border Patrol agents. The port has three areas of activity: cargo, cruises and ferry service.

          Massachusetts General Court legislature of Massachusetts

          The Massachusetts General Court is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when the colonial assembly, in addition to making laws, sat as a judicial court of appeals. Before the adoption of the state constitution in 1780, it was called the Great and General Court, but the official title was shortened by John Adams, author of the state constitution. It is a bicameral body. The upper house is the Massachusetts Senate which is composed of 40 members. The lower body, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, has 160 members. It meets in the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill in Boston.

          Municipal bond A municipal bond is a bond issued by a local government or territory, or one of their agencies; generally to finance public projects.

          A municipal bond, commonly known as a Muni Bond, is a bond issued by a local government or territory, or one of their agencies. It is generally used to finance public projects such as roads, schools, airports and seaports, and infrastructure-related repairs. The term municipal bond is commonly used in the United States, which has the largest market of such trade-able securities in the world. As of 2011, the municipal bond market was valued at $3.7 trillion. Potential issuers of municipal bonds include states, cities, counties, redevelopment agencies, special-purpose districts, school districts, public utility districts, publicly owned airports and seaports, and other governmental entities at or below the state level having more than a de minimis amount of one of the three sovereign powers: the power of taxation, the power of eminent domain or the police power.

          Governor of Massachusetts head of state and of government of the U.S. commonwealth of Massachusetts

          The Governor of Massachusetts is the head of the executive branch of the Government of Massachusetts and serves as commander-in-chief of the Commonwealth's military forces. The current governor is Charlie Baker.


          A map of Boston Harbor from 1888 Situationsplan von Boston (Massachusetts).jpg
          A map of Boston Harbor from 1888

          Before the colonization of the Americas, the area served as a trading post for Native Americans in the region.[ citation needed ] After the establishment of the Boston settlement by John Winthrop in 1630 and the creation of a local shipbuilding industry, the port served the rapidly expanding American colonies. During that time, trade involved finished goods from England in exchange for lumber, fully constructed vessels, rum, and salted fish.

          European colonization of the Americas settlement and establishment of control of the continents of the Americas by most of the naval powers of Europe

          The European colonization of the Americas describes the history of the settlement and establishment of control of the continents of the Americas by most of the naval powers of Western Europe.

          John Winthrop Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, author of "City upon a Hill"

          John Winthrop was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England, following Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of immigrants from England in 1630 and served as governor for 12 of the colony's first 20 years. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan "city upon a hill" dominated New England colonial development, influencing the governments and religions of neighboring colonies.

          With the rapid growth of the Mid-Atlantic colonies in the 1750s, the ports of New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania began to surpass Boston for inter-colony trade.[ citation needed ] In response, Bostonian merchants established trade with foreign nations besides Great Britain. This trade led to a huge increase in wealth amongst local Bay State merchants.[ citation needed ] However, the British government's imposition of regulations restricting trade to Great Britain, combined with newly enacted taxes on the colonists, caused Bostonian merchants to join the more radical elements in American society. After the Boston Tea Party, the British Parliament passed the Boston Port Act which shut down the port until the East India Company was compensated for the damaged tea These actions led to the American Revolutionary War.

          New York City Largest city in the United States

          The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

          Great Britain island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe

          Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.

          Boston Tea Party political protest in Boston in the British colony of Massachusetts

          The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.

          Though economically devastated by the Revolutionary War, the Port of Boston was again prospering with trade with various foreign ports such as Shanghai.[ when? ] The port's fortunes were further augmented with a navy base at Charlestown. By the mid-19th century, the shipbuilding industry reached its peak as displayed by the clipper ships developed by Donald McKay.[ citation needed ] The port also saw many land reclamation projects and the construction of new piers.

          American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

          The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

          Donald McKay American shipbuilder

          Donald McKay was a Canadian-born American designer and builder of sailing ships, famed for his record-setting clippers.

          Boston Harbor 1876c.jpg
          The port of Boston, 1876.

          With the start of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, activity in the port turned towards trade between the states. Starting in the mid-19th century, the Port of Boston was eclipsed yet again by other eastern seaboard ports such Port of New New York City as local merchant companies were bought out by New York businessmen. In 1956, control of the port was handed to the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which began the process of modernizing the port. During the 1980s and 1990s, a project dedicated to the cleanup of Boston Harbor was overseen by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA).

          In 1966, Sea-Land introduced containerized shipping and later established one of the first container ports on Castle Island, where Conley Terminal now stands. To meet the growing demand for container shipping, Massport constructed a common-use container port on what is now Moran Terminal. However, the port faced a setback with the closure of the Charlestown Navy Yard in 1974.[ citation needed ]

          In the mid-1990s, the port went through another round of modernization. Container shipping operations were consolidated at Conley Terminal while Moran Terminal was dedicated to automobile shipping. A project of dredging the harbor commenced in 1997. Through the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (Big Dig), ground access to the South Boston facilities were improved with the extension of I-90 and the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel linking South Boston with East Boston and Logan International Airport. The port has also seen a burgeoning cruise industry as well as expanding commercial and residential developments on the Boston waterfront.

          With the Panama Canal expansion project expected to accommodate larger ships starting in 2016, the United States Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge harbor access routes starting in 2017, deepening them from 40 to 47 to 51 feet. [10] This will allow visits by container ships carrying up to 10,000 TEUs, up from 7000 TEUs, and reduce the amount of freight which is expected to be shipped to the Port of New York and New Jersey and trucked to Massachusetts. [10] The project is estimated to cost $310 million and is paid for by the federal Water Resources Reform and Development Act (about two-thirds), Massport, and an additional allocation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. [11]

          Port facilities

          Ground transportation

          The Port of Boston has access to I-90, I-93, I-95, and U.S. 1, including a truck-only haul road. [12] Track 61 runs through the port, but As of 2019 is being used by the MBTA as a test track. There is public transit access via the MBTA Silver line SL2 route.

          Massport facilities

          Aerial view of part of Boston Harbor. From left to right Pleasure Bay, Conley Container Terminal, Reserved Channel, Black Falcon Cruise Terminal and Dry Dock number 3. 2008 Boston 2507982044.jpg
          Aerial view of part of Boston Harbor. From left to right Pleasure Bay, Conley Container Terminal, Reserved Channel, Black Falcon Cruise Terminal and Dry Dock number 3.
          Black Falcon Cruise Terminal Boston Cruse Terminal.agr.jpg
          Black Falcon Cruise Terminal
          Conley Terminal, photographed from Black Falcon Terminal Boston Harbor Conley Terminal.jpg
          Conley Terminal, photographed from Black Falcon Terminal
          Boston Autoport, Charlestown Tobin Bridge and Boston skyline, June 2017.jpg
          Boston Autoport, Charlestown

          The public facilities, operated by the Massport, are located in the neighborhoods of Charlestown, East Boston, and South Boston. These include:

          Non-Massport facilities

          The Port of Boston has facilities dedicated to bulk cargo, petroleum, and LNG shipment and storage. These are primarily located on the Mystic River, notably along the city of Everett waterfront as well as the Chelsea River area of East Boston, Chelsea, and Revere. The Chelsea River depots also contain facilities handling jet fuel for Logan International Airport. The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, whose 150-foot-tall (46 m) egg-shaped sludge digesters are major landmarks, ships treated sludge across the harbor by barge for further processing into fertilizer.

          The US Coast Guard has a base in Boston, [22] and the naval frigate USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") is berthed at the former Charlestown Navy Yard, now part of the Boston National Historical Park. The park is also home to the USS Cassin Young a World War II museum ship. The park's Drydock Number 1 was completed in 1833 and first used by the Constitution. [23] It is now used to overhaul historic ships, including Constitution in 1992 and Cassin Young in 2007. Two other pre-World War II-era dry docks in the harbor are still operational (as of 2014), including Dry Dock Number 3 — one of the largest dry docks on the U.S. East Coast — which regularly repairs ships for the Military Sealift Command. These are located at the former South Boston Naval Annex.

          MBTA Boat, water taxis, and private ferries and small cruise boats also use docks at Rowes Wharf, Long Wharf, Boston Navy Yard, Logan International Airport, Hewitt's Cove in Hingham, Pemberton Point in Hull, and the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, and a number of small docks at destinations around the harbor. [24] The Boston Harborwalk provides public access to much of the harbor's edge.

          Piers and wharves

          Boston's port was historically served by many more wharves and pier facilities. Although Massport maintain the more notable ones, a handful of docking facilities in the Boston Harbor are maintained by private interests or other state agencies such as DCR. Further, some wharves have been converted to residential condominiums, or hotel accommodations.

          The Port's current and former wharves include: [25]

          Foreign Trade Zone

          Massport manages Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 27, which includes many privately owned and port-owned sites located throughout Suffolk County, Massachusetts. [28]

          The following Sub Zones are a part of The Port of Boston FTZ No. 27: [29]

          Traffic and statistics

          Container ship MSC Katya R. docked at Conley Terminal. MSC Katya R at Conley Terminal.agr.jpg
          Container ship MSC Katya R. docked at Conley Terminal.

          In 2015, the port handled 237,000 container TEUs, 60,000 automobiles, and 121,000 metric tons of cement. Other major forms of cargo processed at the port include petroleum, liquefied natural gas (LNG), gypsum, and salt. There were 328,305 cruise ship passengers that year. Some 114 vessel calls are scheduled for the 2016 cruise season. [30]

          In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, there have been concerns about the security of LNG shipments within Boston Harbor, and increased fear of terrorism. Because of the location of the LNG terminal in the Mystic River, tankers traveling to and from the facility are forced to pass directly offshore of downtown Boston. During their voyage through the harbor, they are protected by a security zone that extends 2 miles (3.2 km) in front of the vessel, 1-mile (1.6 km) behind it, and more than half a mile on either side. This zone is enforced by escort vessels provided by the Coast Guard and State Police. [31] The Tobin Bridge is closed as the escort passes under it, and boating is forbidden within the security zone. As of 2005, there have been proposals to construct an offshore LNG facility on either Outer Brewster Island [32] in the Harbor, or further a field in the wider Massachusetts Bay. [33]

          An LNG carrier passes just offshore of downtown Boston, under Coast Guard and police escort. Boston Harbor with LNG Carrier.JPG
          An LNG carrier passes just offshore of downtown Boston, under Coast Guard and police escort.

          The MBTA operates commuter boats between Long Wharf and Rowes Wharf on the downtown Boston waterfront to Hingham, Hull, Quincy, and Logan Airport as well as inner harbor ferries between downtown Boston, Charlestown, and South Boston. Other fast passenger ferries operate to Provincetown and Salem. Several companies operate cruise ships on the harbor, whilst water taxis operate from various points on the downtown Boston waterfront, Logan Airport, Charlestown, East Boston, and South Boston. [34] Ferries are also provided for travel amongst the harbor islands.

          There are occasionally marine accidents, as with a commuter ferry Massachusetts going from Boston's Rowes Wharf to Hull in June 2006. [35]

          Port police

          The Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), which itself was constituted in 1956 maintains its own police force of fully certified and sworn law enforcement officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They work in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police—Troop F who currently provide law enforcement services for Massport. The port police officers are responsible for physical security and law enforcement at the marine terminals and various properties owned by the authority. [ citation needed ]

          See also

          Related Research Articles

          Transportation in Boston

          The Boston transportation system includes roadway, subway, regional rail, air, and sea options for passenger and freight transit in Boston, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) operates the Port of Boston, which includes a container shipping facility in South Boston, and Logan International Airport, in East Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates bus, subway, short distance rail, and water ferry passenger services throughout the city and region. Amtrak operates passenger rail service to and from major northeastern cities. A major bus terminal at South Station is served by varied intercity bus companies. The city is bisected by major highways I-90 and I-93, the intersection of which has undergone a major renovation, nicknamed the Big Dig.

          Logan International Airport Public airport in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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          Raymond Flynn American politician

          Raymond Leo Flynn is an American politician who served as 52nd Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts from 1984 until 1993. He was later appointed United States Ambassador to the Holy See (1993–1997) by President Bill Clinton.

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          North Station Train station in Boston

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          Massachusetts Port Authority organization

          Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is a port authority in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It owns and operates three airports—Logan International Airport, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport—and public terminals in the Port of Boston. It is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose transportation facilities generate more than $600 million annually; no state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities. Its headquarters is located in the Logan Office Center, adjacent to Logan Airport in East Boston, Massachusetts.

          Port of Long Beach

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          Atlantic Avenue Elevated elevated railway in Boston, Massachusetts

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          Grand Junction Railroad and Depot Company railway company

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          MBTA Boat

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          Salem Harbor

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          Port of San Francisco

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          Port of New York and New Jersey Harbour in New Jersey and New York, USA

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