Aberdeen, WA – Big things are happening at the Port of Grays Harbor. Export trade volumes are up 84% over 2009 totals, with over 1.65 million metric tons (mt) of cargo being loaded on an estimated 100 vessels by the end of 2010. But what exactly is driving this historical growth? Diverse cargo exports.
Grays Harbor’s business development strategy has resulted in long-term customer investments and partnerships. Partnerships such as those with long-time customer Ag Processing, Inc. which has shipped over 1 million mt of cargo through its current facility and is now constructing on-site storage silos and infrastructure to increase the handling capacity at Terminal 2. This multimillion-dollar expansion will allow AGP to export grain, feed ingredients, and oilseeds along with their current range of processed products to customers in Pacific Rim countries.
A $15 million dollar capital investment in the Port's marine terminal rail system is being driven by the growing need for additional rail capacity to accommodate not only AGP’s expansion, but the growing auto exports through Terminal 4. Over 21,000 autos have been exported via ro/ro vessels in 2010 via Pasha Automotive Service and Partners Shipping at Terminal 4. The Pasha Group and the Port of Grays Harbor’s joint marketing agreement that has resulted in American made automobiles being exported to China and other destinations.
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The first shipment of autos were loaded aboard the M/V Positive Passion in January 2010, followed by bi-monthly vessel calls to Washington State's only deep-water port right on the Pacific Ocean.
Facilities recently constructed by Westway Terminal Company and Imperium Grays Harbor drove the need for the expansion of Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 1 for liquid bulk shipments. The Port, with funding from the State of Washington and the primary shippers, Westway & Imperium, expanded the former Terminal 1 barge terminal to a Panamax vessel capable, liquid bulk shipping terminal.
Historically one of the leading forest product ports in the country, the Port of Grays Harbor experienced a resurgence of log exports beginning in 2009 through a partnership with Dkoram, Inc. With ties to the growing markets in China and Korea, Dkoram has generated steady port calls at Grays Harbor's terminals throughout 2010. Other forest product shipments have also expanded in Grays Harbor with the additional of Willis Enterprises at Terminal 3. Willis Enterprises is a leader in barge shipments of wood chips to destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest and West Coast.
What does this increase in export activity mean to Washington's coast? Jobs. The first six months of 2010 resulted in more longshore hours worked loading vessels at the Port of Grays Harbor’s marine terminals than all of 2009. And 2009 was a strong year. As Grays Harbor continues to attract innovative partners who invest in state-of-the-art facilities on Washington's Coast, the projections and outlook for continued growth in 2011 are strong.
Founded in 1911, the Port of Grays Harbor is the second oldest port district in Washington State and will be celebrating its centennial throughout 2011. The Port of Grays Harbor operates 4 deepwater marine terminals and several hundred 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. More information and photographs are available at PortofGraysHarbor.com.