The Port of Boston, is a major seaport located in Boston Harbor and adjacent to the City of Boston. It is the largest port in Massachusetts as well as being one of the principal ports on the east coast of the United States. 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. Land reclamation and conversion to other uses means that downtown area no longer handles commercial traffic, although there is still considerable ferry and leisure usage of the downtown waterfront. 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.
The Port of Boston has access to I-90, I-93, I-95, and U.S. 1, including a truck-only haul road. A CSX rail yard in the Boston neighborhood of Brighton serves the port, though its operations are scheduled to move to Worcester, MA in late 2012. Limited on-dock rail connections exist but are not currently used (as of 2011). There is public transit access via the MBTA Silver line SL2 route.
The public facilities, operated by the Massport, are located in the neighborhoods of Charlestown, East Boston, and South Boston. These include:
- Black Falcon Cruise Terminal (South Boston) - The Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is owned and operated by Massport. Running from April through November, the 2009 cruise season boasts more than 100 vessel calls and 200,000 passengers, sailing north along the majestic New England and Canadian coastline, south to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda, or east across the Atlantic to Europe. Only vessel passengers are authorized to enter the Terminal's restricted areas; however, cruise-ship activity can be viewed from the Sumner Street Bridge over the Reserved Channel and the small park at the southern end of the cruise terminal.
- Boston Fish Pier (South Boston) - The oldest continuously operated fish pier in the United States, this facility houses companies dedicated to the processing and shipment of seafood.
- Conley Terminal (South Boston) - Conley Terminal serves as the container facility for the Port of Boston. Started as the Castle Island Terminal by Sea-Land Corporation in 1966, Massport consolidated all container operations at Conley and dredged the entrance channel to a depth of 45 feet (14 m) in the mid-1990s. Today, the facility is capable of handling Panamax and post-Panamax container ships.
- Boston Autoport (Charlestown) - Now dedicated exclusively to the processing and shipping of automobiles, the site once served as the common-use Moran Container Terminal.
Aside from a US Coast Guard facility, 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 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. A World War II era dry dock in the park was used for Constitution's 1992 overhaul. Two other World War II-era dry docks in the harbor are still operational (as of 2007), including Dry Dock Number 3 — one of the largest dry docks on the U.S. East Coast. These are located at the former South Boston Naval Annex. The Boston Harborwalk provides public access to much of the harbor's edge. 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.