Export Cargoes Up 85%
February 2011 - A record year of dry bulk and automobile exports brought more than 100 vessels to Washington’s only deep-water port on the Pacific Coast.
Record cargo shipments, over $60 million in private investment and increasing waterfront jobs; these were the measurements of success for the Port of Grays Harbor in 2010. As export volumes of dry bulk agricultural products like soybean meal and distillers dried grains (DDGs) topped one million metric tons, the Port of Grays Harbor also became a major player in the US auto export market, handling one-third of all automobiles exported through US West Coast ports. Combined with the return of log exports and additional over-high and over-wide cargoes, the Port of Grays Harbor on Washington’s Pacific Coast celebrated a record year.
To put this in perspective, five years ago a total of 19 vessels called Grays Harbor, moving just over 276,000 metric tons of cargo. In 2010, 106 vessels transported more than 1.5 million metric tons of cargoes and 21,000 autos. “Diversifying our cargo base through partnerships with companies who have an investment in their own facility has proven to be a successful business model for Grays Harbor,” reports Executive Director Gary Nelson. “By leveraging local, state and federal investments in public infrastructure we have generated long-term private investment in our community, creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens.”
Shipping activity kept Grays Harbor citizens working on the waterfront. In 2010, ILWU Local 24’s full-time roster increased 35% while Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad increased their workforce 15%. Log truck drivers, foresters and others also benefited from the return of log exports to Grays Harbor. In addition, hundreds of construction jobs were created by road, rail and dock improvements at the Port and construction of new facilities by the shippers.
Grays Harbor’s growth spurt is not by accident. Located only one and half hours from open sea, the Port of Grays Harbor has developed strategic partnerships that resulted in more than $150 million in private investment over the past five years. With access to both Class 1 railroads, Grays Harbor’s location provided a competitive advantage to those who developed facilities. Ag Processing Inc (AGP), the primary shipper of soybean meal and DDGs, began the expansion of their Terminal 2 facility, with plans to more than triple their export volumes. Westway Terminal Company completed their $20 million liquid bulk storage facility at Terminal 1 in early 2010 adjacent to the Imperium Grays Harbor biodiesel plant. Willis Enterprises, a forest products company specializing in barge shipments of wood chips, became fully operational at Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 3. Pasha Automotive Services processed 21,000 vehicles at their Terminal 4 facility.
Working to increase capacity for all shippers, the Port completed a widening project on the freight corridor serving the marine terminal area as well as major upgrades to Marine Terminals 1 & 3 in 2010. Currently, Grays Harbor is working on an $18 million rail improvement project to increase storage and efficiency within the Port’s marine terminal complex. “Our increased capacity will ensure our customers will have the facilities and transportation network to grow well into the future,” stated Mr. Nelson.
“As we begin celebrating our 100th year as a Port district, increasing export cargo handling and creating local jobs are priorities we will continue to focus on,” summarized Commission President Jack Thompson. “As our partners continue to invest in our facilities, we will focus our investments on public infrastructure that strengthens their competitive global position, therefore strengthening our community and country.”
Founded in 1911, the Port of Grays Harbor is one of Washington State’s oldest port districts. The Port of Grays Harbor operates 4 deepwater marine terminals and hundreds of acres of marine industrial property. Only 1-½ vessel hours from open sea, Grays Harbor offers rail and highway access to markets throughout North America.