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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Along the Waterfront

As Chief Administrative Officer at Massport’s Maritime Department, Lauren Gleason leads the business development team to grow its container and cruise businesses.  We spoke with Lauren about this year’s cruise season, upgrades to the Port of Boston, and Massport’s lasting commitment to local communities and open space.


Tell us about your career and how you ended up in your current position.

From a young age, I was fascinated by foreign cultures, languages, travel and international business. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with dual degrees in Global Business Management and Spanish Language and Literature, where I was first introduced to the supply chain & logistics industry. After returning home to New Jersey after graduation, I was introduced to the world of ocean freight and container shipping through friends. I spent the next 6 years working for Hanjin Shipping, formerly the 7th largest ocean carrier in the world, building out its entire New England and Eastern Canadian territory. I represented large retailers, importing furniture, footwear, apparel and other consumer goods, managing container volumes shipped into the U.S. and Europe, traveling to Asia to visit factories, and planning inventory flows and capacity ahead of the holiday peak season.

After Hanjin Shipping, I moved to Wayfair to its International Logistics team, helping to build the groundwork for Wayfair’s internal fulfillment division and managing container imports to Wayfair’s national distribution centers.

In 2017, I was hired by Massport Executive Director Lisa Wieland (then the Port Director at Massport) to lead Massport Maritime’s business development team and to grow our container and cruise businesses.

Working at Massport has been such a rewarding opportunity. By bringing my private sector experience into the public sector, I am able to support and grow the container and cruise industries in the Port of Boston, while helping to expand the economic benefits for Boston and Massachusetts. We have an amazing team, always thinking strategically and long-term, as we continuously embark on new challenges and opportunities to keep connecting New England to the world through our maritime facilities.

The Port of Boston continues to grow as an important driver of the state and regional economy, thanks to significant capital investment by Massport.  What are some outcomes of this investment?

The Port of Boston generates $8.2 billion in annual economic impact and supports more than 66,000 jobs. Conley Terminal enables more than 2,500 businesses throughout Massachusetts and New England to ship and receive products globally, including furniture and home goods, footwear, clothing, office supplies, wine and spirits, recycled fibers, sporting goods, seafood and more.

The Conley Terminal Modernization Project has been essential in growing the footprint for New England’s only full-service container terminal, solidifying the Port’s role as an economic engine for Massachusetts and the entire region.

The completed infrastructure projects include:

  • The Butler Freight Corridor, a dedicated truck route to keep container trucks off residential roadways and allow trucks to access the highway system in minutes;
  • Two 50-foot-deep berths, to accommodate the new cranes and larger ships;
  • Three new ship-to-shore cranes, commissioned in the Fall of 2021, have already serviced vessels with published capacity of 14,500 TEUs. The new cranes are fully electric and produce no diesel emissions;
  • The Boston Harbor Dredging project, a multi-year, multi-phase partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Massport and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed in June 2022 to deepen the main ship channel and Reserved Channel to – 7 feet and the outer harbor to -51 feet;
  • Other terminal improvements include new rubber-tire gantry cranes, expanded container storage, and new refrigerated container storage.

The investments are paying off. Conley Terminal added four new services calling Boston in 2022. The international ocean carrier community has increased Boston’s global direct connectivity to 26 ports throughout China, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, North Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Latin America.

How do you align and balance the needs of local fishermen and open space advocates, as well as environmental challenges and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors?

The Port of Boston is fortunate to work with multiple stakeholders intersecting business, industry, government, environmental, non-profit, community, and others all with the same goal to preserve and protect the working waterfront while providing a sustainable asset for generations to come.

Massport, as part of our Maritime Mission, hosts a cluster of seafood processing companies across multiple facilities on the South Boston waterfront. This seafood processing hub, one of 4 major hubs in the United States, provides seafood to customers locally, nationally and internationally. In Boston, these businesses are strategically located near both Logan International Airport and Conley Container Terminal, accessing global markets with the convenience of direct connectivity.

Massport has an excellent working relationship with various waterfront organizations, including Save the Harbor Save the Bay and Boston Harbor Now. Our efforts are aligned to partner and prepare for a sustainable and resilient waterfront while also supporting investment and innovation in Boston’s working port that strengthens the maritime economy. Massport properties in East Boston and South Boston are part of the 43-mile Boston Harborwalk, connecting Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods to Boston Harbor and to each other.

Massport is also committed to our neighboring communities and the development of open space. Over the past decade, Massport has invested in East Boston to develop, maintain and secure 33 acres of green space for walking, playing, biking and enjoying panoramic views of the skyline.  Massport collaborates with the East Boston Piers Park Advisory Committee to advance Piers Park II and Piers Park III. Piers Park II celebrated its groundbreaking in October 2022 and anticipates a fall 2023 opening. The four-acre park will be located immediately adjacent to the existing award-winning Piers Park I and the future Piers Park III.

In South Boston, where the container terminal and cruiseport are located, Massport has invested in multiple parks and open space initiatives, including Butler Memorial Park, East First Street Dog Park, South Boston Maritime Park, William Miller Memorial Park and the newly constructed Boxes at the Fish Pier activation, opening in May 2023.


The Cruise industry has emerged in Boston over the past several years as a major part of our tourism industry. What can we expect for the 2023 Cruise Season?

Massport is thrilled to launch the 2023 Cruise Season with the return of the Norwegian Pearl, sailing weekly to Bermuda.  Our cruise season runs from March to November, welcoming over 150 vessels from 28 cruise lines – a record in one season for Flynn Cruiseport Boston’s 35+ year history. We will have 5 Homeport cruise ships from 4 cruise lines – Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

We will also have over 100 Port of Call ships, visiting Boston for the day. These Port of Call ships significantly contribute to Flynn Cruiseport Boston’s annual economic impact of $135.5 million, supporting 2,200 jobs, as visitors enjoy the City and the Commonwealth’s attractions, dining, history and shopping. We will also welcome 6 Maiden Call vessels this year and exciting repositioning itineraries to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and Greenland & Iceland.

When visitors come to town, where do you take them to give them the essence of Massachusetts?

Boston and Greater Massachusetts have so much to offer for anyone coming to visit. In the City, my family and I enjoy the Harborwalk and taking in the sights of the city. We’ll grab a latte at Tatte in the Seaport and then head over to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) as we enjoy spending time at art museums. FROM ICA’s Seaport location, we can take the ferry from Fan Pier Marina and travel to the ICA Watershed in East Boston. This amazing exhibit features new artists annually, exhibiting immersive art installations that intersect with media and movement, while also connecting community and culture.

When we venture outside of Boston, we love hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. We’ll explore parks like Blue Hills in Canton, Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, or Mount Tom in Holyoke. We also love visiting the Berkshires, driving up Route 7, checking out historic antique shops and walking around the beautiful quaint towns. My husband and I got married in Western Massachusetts so visiting always brings back wonderful memories.


Thank you, Lauren.