With more than 13.1 million tons of cargo handled, 2010 was the third best tonnage year in the Port’s history for marine cargo. By the numbers, the 575 ships calling Portland last year represented a 15 percent increase, with total tonnage up by 28 percent compared to 2009. The Port reported positive gains in every cargo category and closed a number of key transactions.
The outlook for imports and exports improved with completion of the Columbia River channel improvement project in November 2010. With a 43-foot navigation channel, each ship can accommodate an additional 6,000 to 10,000 tons of the heavier bulk and containerized cargoes.
The Port recently transitioned from operator to landlord with the 25-year lease of its container terminal to a growing global marine terminal operator, International Container Terminal Services Inc. The move will continue to position Portland as an international cargo gateway. ICTSI has established an Oregon-based subsidiary, ICTSI Oregon, Inc., and has hired approximately 20 staff to support terminal operations.
As a gateway to international trade and an economic engine for the region, improved performance by the Port bodes well for the local economy. The Port’s marine-related activities support an estimated 12,458 jobs, $921 million in total income, and $776 million in business revenues.
Landside, infrastructure investments, including construction of new rail and road improvements, were initiated in order to improve freight mobility in and around the marine terminals. A container crane retrofit, a new pipeline rack system for liquid bulks, and the repower of the Dredge Oregon to increase efficiency and lower emissions are examples of maximizing the productive use of existing equipment and facilities. The Port also finalized designs for storm water enhancements at Terminals 4 and 6 that will be implemented during 2011.
At the Port’s Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park, FedEx Ground celebrated the grand opening of a new 441,000-square-foot regional freight distribution hub. Now fully operational, the $129 million state-of-the-art package sortation hub employs 750, with plans to grow that number to 950. The park itself has since been recognized nationally as a model brownfield redevelopment project.
Subaru of America, Inc. signed a ground lease in December for construction of a new 413,000-square-foot building housing auto parts distribution, a service training center and regional offices. This adds a new strategic customer to Rivergate with a strong potential to also utilize Terminal 6 for container imports.