Port of Portland Remains No. 1 for Auto Exports on U.S. West Coast
After exporting more than 87,000 Ford vehicles in 2017, the Port of Portland continues to be the leader on the U.S. West Coast for auto exports. The Port also posted strong auto totals for the year, with the combined number of imports and exports adding up to 314,000 vehicles. The 2017 total auto figures, compiled in the Port’s annual year-end report, represent a 7.8 percent increase from 2016. In 2016, the Port handled more than 50,000 exports, with the 2017 growth representing a 73 percent increase.
Last year, the Port and tenant Auto Warehousing Company added space for auto staging in the Rivergate Industrial District near Terminal 6. The 18.9-acre storage and staging yard helped support the growth of export vehicles. “Our export boom highlights the strong demand for American-made cars in Asia,” said Keith Leavitt, the Port’s chief commercial officer. “This positive trend translates into more than 600 direct local jobs for dockworkers, processors and others working in our supply chain.” Cars manufactured in the U.S. are shipped by rail from assembly plants to the Port’s docks, where vehicles are driven on “ro-ro” ships (roll-on/roll-off) bound for China and other parts of the Far East.
The Port also handles import models such as Hyundais, Toyotas, and Hondas that make their first stop in Portland before they are distributed to dealerships across the west. The Port’s auto story dates back to 1953 with the import of Volkswagens through Terminal 1. Since then, well over 11 million vehicles have come through Port facilities. “As a top auto gateway on the West Coast, we create opportunities for skilled workers involved in the global auto manufacturing network,” said Leavitt.