2010 Port Report: Major Milestones Pave the Way for Future Economic Growth
Jack Thompson, Port of Grays Harbor Commission President
January 2011 - Record cargo shipments, over $60 million in private investment and increasing jobs on our waterfront; these were the measurements of success for the Port of Grays Harbor in 2010.
Export trade volumes were up 85% over 2009. Pilots and tug operators were kept busy handling more than 100 vessels and barges that called upon the Port’s marine terminals for cargo shipments. To put this in perspective, five years ago there were a total of 19 vessel calls to the Harbor moving just over 276,000 metric tons of cargo. In 2010, 104 vessels transported more than 1.5 million metric tons and over 30,000 autos and roll-on, roll-off cargoes.
This shipping activity kept Grays Harbor citizens working on our waterfront. In 2010, 12 longshore workers were added to the ILWU Local 24 workforce, bringing the full-time roster to 44 people. Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad increased their workforce 15% bringing the local rail workforce to 33 workers. Logging truck drivers, foresters and others benefited from the return of log exports to Grays Harbor. And these were just the shipping related results.
Construction projects throughout the port improved our ability to transport people, goods and services through our region. Private investment led the way with the completion of the Westway Terminal Company and Ag Processing Inc’s decision to invest more than $60 million in storage facilities in Grays Harbor. These private investments have created hundreds of local jobs through construction contracts, subcontracts, and material purchases.
On the public investment front, the Port completed the upgrade of Port Industrial Road – a project funded by the US Department of Transportation. With a loan from Washington’s Community Economic Revitalization Board, the Port hired local contractor Quigg Bros to expand Marine Terminal 1 from a barge terminal to a liquid bulk terminal capable of handling deep-water vessels for our tenants Imperium Grays Harbor and Westway Terminal Company. Willis Enterprises became fully operational at Marine Terminal 3 generating jobs and steady barge traffic. Rognlins’ crews began construction of additional rail to serve the expanding business at the Port. At the Westport Marina, the Port invested in major piling upgrades to improve our ability to handle the larger fishing vessels becoming prevalent in today’s market.
All of this investment in our community’s infrastructure was accomplished by strategically leveraging state and federal dollars and limited local public dollars toward investments that supported private development. In the past five years more than $150 million in private investment has occurred on Port property.
Yes, 2010 was a milestone year for the Port of Grays Harbor. I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few very significant accomplishments that will continue to pave the way to economic stability for Grays Harbor.
One-third of auto exports from the US West Coast moved through Grays Harbor! Auto exports began shipping through Grays Harbor in January of 2010, creating new processing jobs with our partner, Pasha Automotive Services, and generating thousands of longshore hours loading the vessels. In one year, Grays Harbor became a leading export hub for American made automobiles destined for China and other Pacific markets.
Soybean meal, DDGs and other dry bulk exports topped one million metric tons in 2010. With AGP’s construction of storage facilities at Terminal 2 this number is expected to triple in the next five years.
Over-high and over-wide cargoes (large rolling cargoes like boats and machinery) shipped to destinations in Australia and China aboard the Partners Shipping vessels. Pasha Stevedoring and Terminaling Services has developed this line of businesses and utilizes locally owned cranes and operators to ready the cargo for shipment.
Grays Harbor returned to our roots this year with the return of log exports across our docks. Dkoram, Inc, with ties to the growing markets in China and Korea, generated steady port calls throughout 2010.
Biodiesel production at Imperium Grays Harbor began picking up again at the end of this year with hopes for stronger markets in 2011.
The Westport Marina retained its title as the leading fishing landing port in Washington State with more than half of all fish landed in the State coming through Westport.
FedEx located their local hub to Bowerman Airport, a move that will result in daily aircraft landing and potential future expansion at the facility.
As I reflect on the changes and accomplishments at the Port, I recognize the successes of this past year are built upon the solid foundation of planning and partnerships the Port has developed over the past decades. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Port of Grays Harbor. As we enter this new century I see our Port continuing the business model that has served us well – developing partnerships that create new opportunities for jobs and economic stability for our region. With the opening of AGP’s facility, Cosmos Specialty Fibers and the construction of the SR520 pontoon project, along with many other new developments, 2011 promises to be a stronger year for the Grays Harbor economy. To keep up to date on Port developments please check out our website at PortofGraysHarbor.com and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.