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Port of San Diego Makes a Sustainable Shift with Eco-Friendly Paperless Bidding

Written by Sample Hubspot User

Port of San Diego



The Port of San Diego is the fourth-largest port in California and was created to manage San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront land in 1962. It has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, and San Diego. The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department, and the leases of hundreds of tenants and sub-tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.

The Port of San Diego is an economic engine, an environmental steward of San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and a provider of community services and public safety. The Port of San Diego partnered with PlanetBids to streamline its bid process, eliminate a paperintensive, manual practice, and implement a vendor self-registration program. Bringing on two key modules— Vendor Management and Bid Management—their procurement team moved to the new system and started reaping the benefits within the first few bid projects. Documentation of the bid processes is crucial and PlanetBids reporting features have been used time and again.


On November 13, 2013, the Port of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista marked the start of the $7.2 million project with a ceremonial groundbreaking. This important redevelopment project extended a major street - H Street - to connect the waterfront and the main streets of the western part of that city. At the ceremony, Ann Moore, Chair of the Board of Port Commissioners, stated, “In about one year’s time, we will be able to simply head west on H Street to get to the Chula Vista Bayfront. That means that the Port of San Diego will be able to welcome more people strolling in the Port’s Bayside Park, sailing from the marinas, casting a line from the fishing pier, or enjoying dinner with a bay view. By providing better site access, this project will also help us attract the future bayfront development that we deserve.”


When this project came through purchasing, it was anticipated that this huge public works project would generate a great deal of community and political interest. The entire bidding process was conducted through the PlanetBids System. One particular example of an immediate benefit was realized when the specifications were loaded into the system, resulting in 200 online pages instead of printing a volume of a 700-page paper version. The automation provided tremendous savings in time, increased project transparency, and enabled the purchasing and engineering teams to work together more efficiently.

Results Using the PB System™

The Port of San Diego’s Purchasing Team admits that change is sometimes challenging to implement. When they implemented PlanetBids, they initially started with simple bids for goods. It wasn’t until almost a year later, they started using the system for Public Works projects. They laughingly describe how they ran dual systems for the first few months to become comfortable with the new system and processes, and to give themselves added reassurance. In hindsight, they now admit they could have adapted much more quickly to fully appreciate and realize the savings in time, money, and paper.

Today, they are convinced that eProcurement offered by PlanetBids was a great decision for their department and organization. The Port of San Diego gives PlanetBids high marks for customer service and responsiveness. The system has been easy to use and provided better outreach to the vendor community. The benefits have been significantly realized as they have used the system for several huge construction and public works projects. As one of the managers commented, “Implementing this system has been one of my greatest career achievements.”

Going Paperless

One of the most significant benefits for the Port of San Diego in its move to an automated system is the vast reduction in paper use. No more copies, paper addenda, or volumes of specifications. All submittals are completed online. This new process transformed a system requiring multiple copies and tons of paper into one that significantly reduced printing costs. In addition, the online system allows engineers and project managers to quickly check on their projects during the active bid process and increase communication with the purchasing team. The only hard copies submitted by the bidders are from the three lowest bids on public works projects after the closing date. Thus, it saves money, paper, and copying time for bidders as well.

Chosen PB System™ Solutions

  • Vendor Management is the core of the PB System™ suite of modules. It offers a configurable and intuitive registration process to ensure that vendor registrations are complete and unique, avoiding duplicate records. Instantly gain access to vendor records, run advanced searches on multiple sets of vendor data, perform real-time verification of provided information (i.e., certifications and licenses), generate comprehensive reports with visual charts, and broadcast messages to selected vendors.
  • Bid Management is the most complete web-based system on the market today. Procurement professionals can quickly manage the process of issuing, monitoring, conducting evaluations, and awarding formal and informal bids. More importantly, the PB System™ can handle construction and public works projects – a feature unique to the eProcurement industry. Vendors can interactively search, view, and respond to bid opportunities securely over the Internet.

Contact us to schedule a free demo to see how the PB system can help you