A ship loaded with the first Ford vehicles to be exported through the Port of Portland is making its way across the Pacific Ocean, bound for South Korea. This initial export shipment marks the first of many at the Auto Warehousing Company (AWC) facility at Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District.
Longshore workers loaded the vehicles onto the M/V Morning Caroline – a ship built like a massive, floating parking garage. The vessel had arrived in Portland with a delivery of Hyundai vehicles and will leave carrying Fords.
Among the Ford vehicles being shipped to South Korea is the Fusion Hybrid – Ford’s first hybrid vehicle to be sold in the Korean market. The Fusion Hybrid is the first of six all-new or refreshed products Ford plans to introduce in Korea in 2012. All vehicles shipped to Korea from North America will be shipped through the Port of Portland.
Vehicle exports are welcome business for the Port and AWC, bringing new marine terminal activity and adding value for the backhaul across the Pacific. A recently signed free trade agreement with South Korea could help continue the trend.
Portland handled the first export of American-made Hondas to Japan back in 1988, but the Port has specialized primarily in imports since it opened Oregon’s first auto terminal in the 1950s. Today, Portland facilities handle Hyundai, Honda and Toyota vehicles. In 2011, 234,048 autos moved over Port of Portland docks.
Vehicle imports and exports provide local jobs for dockworkers, processors at accessorization facilities, and others employed in distribution and transportation throughout the supply chain. Each vehicle imported brings an estimated economic benefit of $278 to the region.
Besides autos, the Port of Portland handles containers, grain, mineral bulks, breakbulk steel, and liquid bulks. Over 13 million tons of cargo passed over the docks in 2011 – the third best tonnage year in the Port’s history. A large portion of that total is export cargo, supporting the President’s initiative to double U.S. exports over the next 5 years.