A cruise ship in the port of Ensenada. Photo by Cesar Bojorquez via Wikimedia Commons

The San Diego region’s twin ports, Ensenada and San Diego, each named new leaders last year and are seeking new opportunities to work together.

“There are very common areas that make us sister ports,” said Hector Bautista, general director of the Port of Ensenada, through a translator. “Without a doubt we will go from here to a great friendship agreement.”

“In recent years, we haven’t seized a lot of opportunities to work together,” noted Randa Coniglio, president and CEO of the Port of San Diego. “With new leadership here and at the Port of Ensenada, it’s a really a good opportunity to start a fresh, new relationship.”

Hector Bautista and Randa Coniglio

Bautista and Coniglio spoke to business and political leaders at a meeting Tuesday sponsored by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Ensenada handles 2 million metric tons of freight annually, just behind San Diego’s 2.8 million tons, and its container traffic is growing. The two ports are just over 60 miles apart, and signed an initial partnership agreement back in 2004.

Coniglio said she saw opportunities to work together on cruise traffic, sport fishing and ocean recreation, and Bautista predicted that the meeting in downtown San Diego would be “the first of many that we will have.”

He suggested that the two ports create a “maritime highway” for tourism between their two surrounding cities. Coniglio added that the perception that it isn’t safe to travel to northern Baja is misinformed.

The Coast Guard already works closely with its counterparts in Ensenada, focusing on maritime safety and security, and environmental stewardship. “Our partnership with Mexico is not just talk…it is highly operational,” said Capt. Jonathan S. Spanar.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.