Two ports along Oregon's Columbia River are putting together multi-million projects aimed at helping shippers gain easier access to the Puget Sound ports of Seattle and Tacoma, according to a report in the East Oregonian newspaper.
The most ambitious plan is at the Port of Umatilla, Ore., which is looking for federal backing for a project that could cost from $31 million to $50 million to add the needed infrastructure to push container-on-barge traffic downriver past the Port of Portland to the Washington state ports.
"The cleanest and most fuel efficient method is water, and that's what is driving the Port of Umatilla," port director Kim Puzey told the newspaper.
The nearby Port of Morrow, Ore., is working on a separate path to build a rail siding and container rail yard to get traffic to Washington state, a plan the East Oregonian said would cost about $10 million.
Shippers using both ports to move goods about 130 miles down the Columbia River to Portland. But Port of Morrow Executive Director Gary Neal said that because fewer ocean container lines are calling at Portland, more international goods are trucked between the region and the Washington state ports.
Union Pacific Railroad is reviewing the Port of Morrow plan, a spokesman told the newspaper, and expects to make a decision this month on whether to support it.
Contact Thomas L. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org.