The City will soon have a special claim as the only port on the West Coast of the Americas capable of repairing ships unable to fit through the Panama Canal.
Port officials and BAE Systems, the company running ship repairs at The City’s dry dock near Pier 70, say the move will open the door to more business in the area.
“[I]t sends a message to the industry that San Francisco is serious about the cruise business and serious about ship repair,” said Peter Dailey, the maritime director for the Port of San Francisco.
Ship building and repair has been a part of San Francisco history since the turn of the 20th century, and it will continue when BAE Systems signs a new 10-year lease next week that should net the Port, The City and surrounding region millions in additional revenue.
The planned improvements to The City’s dry dock, located just off of 20th Street and Illinois Avenue, are expected to cost more than $5 million. Princess Cruises — The City’s most frequent visitor — is contributing up to $3 million of that.
At the dock, a ship could see any kind of repairs or maintenance such as a hull-cleaning, a new paint job, or new carpeting and furniture, Dailey said. He said the dock area swells from roughly 200 to 1,000 union jobs when a major ship comes in for maintenance.
The new dry-dock capabilities in The City should be a boon to the economy because the larger ships and the increased passenger loads — it is estimated that a single ship initiates sales and tax revenues of $750,000 to $1,000,000 while in port — will frequent the Bay because it is the only place for repairs.