Port of Portland Promotes Keith Leavitt to Chief Commercial Officer

by Josh Thomas 12/8/2014 5:08 PM

Keith Leavitt has been named the Port of Portland’s new chief commercial officer. Leavitt most recently served as the Port’s general manager of business development and properties. In his new role, Leavitt will hold responsibility for the Port’s business and economic development activities and will work to ensure the Port obtains a market-based rate of return on Port assets. He will oversee both aviation and marine business development functions along with acquiring, developing, managing and marketing the Port’s diversified industrial real estate portfolio.

Leavitt joined the Port in 1999, first serving as state government affairs manager and later as development project manager. Highlights of his Port career include: leading a multi-year Port initiative to change the organization’s container business model, including a global market solicitation for a long term lease of the Port’s T-6 container terminal; and directing several key Port property acquisitions including Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park and Gresham Vista Business Park.

Prior to joining the Port, Leavitt served as division manager and economic development representative for the Oregon Economic Development Department.

“Keith brings a strong background in business and economic development and commercial property management to this critical Port leadership position,” said Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt. “His 15-year history with the Port, coupled with his insight into the business challenges and opportunities on our horizon, will serve the organization well as we continue our mission to provide access to world markets and grow the region’s economy.”

Leavitt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University and a graduate certificate in real estate development from Portland State University.

He replaces Sam Ruda who will leave the Port later this month to pursue other interests.


Oregon’s First and Only International Container Terminal Turns 40

by Josh Thomas 10/31/2014 11:10 AM

It was forty years ago today that Terminal 6 opened to the public for a formal dedication ceremony – and the “most modern container facility on the Pacific Coast” was officially open for business.

On the morning of October 31, 1974, plans called for Oregon Governor Tom McCall and Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt to drive a tractor through a blue ribbon held by Commission President Alan Green, Jr. and ILWU Local 8 President Don Ronne, but in stereotypical Oregon fashion, heavy rains moved the ribbon cutting indoors.

Built at a cost of $17 million, the terminal began with just a 66-acre footprint and two 900-foot berths. It was named for the late John M. Fulton, former president of the Port of Portland Commission.  The first ship to visit the facility was American Mail Lines’ Oregon Mail, which sailed loaded with export cargo bound for Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe, Japan.

Over the past four decades, the now 419-acre terminal has been an economic engine, employment generator and trade gateway for more than 1,000 businesses throughout the region. Leased to terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, today the terminal offers service provided by Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd and Westwood Shipping. Full import containers were up by 13% in 2013.

Pulled from Port archives, the following front pages of old Port publications (circa 1974) give a flavor for the significance and excitement surrounding the opening of Oregon’s first dedicated, deep-draft international container terminal.


Related Links:

Save Time and Money Importing through Terminal 6

ICTSI Oregon, Inc.


Canpotex to Invest at Port of Portland Terminal

by Josh Thomas 10/8/2014 12:06 PM

Portland is already the largest gateway on the U.S. West Coast for bulk mineral exports, and that gateway is about to get more efficient and diversified with the expansion of the Canpotex Limited (Canpotex) potash export facility at the Port of Portland’s marine Terminal 5 in the Rivergate Industrial District.

Canpotex, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Portland Bulk Terminals, L.L.C. (PBT), is investing up to $140 million in new equipment and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of its shiploading operations and the management of Canpotex’s specialty white potash products. A new shiploader, improved control system technology and an upgraded conveyance system will enable shorter turnaround times for Canpotex trains and ships at PBT. A new storage building will allow the potash exporter to better manage its specialty grade products at the terminal.

“This investment is great for Canpotex and the Port because it improves the speed and quality of our operations at the terminal. But it’s not just our company that benefits; we are doing our part to try to build efficiency into the transportation system in the Pacific Northwest corridor,” said Canpotex’s Steve Dechka, president and chief executive officer.

After significant collaboration and discussion with key stakeholders, Port staff and Portland Development Commission (PDC) personnel proposed an enterprise zone expansion to include the PBT facility. The expanded enterprise zone was approved unanimously by Portland City Council last December. The company’s plans began to materialize shortly thereafter and were officially approved at the October 8 Port Commission meeting.

Canpotex is a joint venture among three Province of Saskatchewan, Canada potash producers: Agrium, Mosaic and PotashCorp. Acting as an international marketing and logistics entity, Canpotex will continue to seek further capacity and efficiency enhancements across its supply chain as export markets allow. In addition to PBT, Canpotex has terminal operations at Neptune Terminal in Vancouver, B.C.

Potash, also known as potassium chloride, helps increase crop yields as a mineral nutrient used in fertilizer applications. More than two million metric tons of Saskatchewan potash is exported through Portland annually to international markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

“Along with grain and agricultural exports, potash is yet another cargo type handled through our port that helps feed the world,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “Canpotex has been a great tenant for nearly two decades, and we are excited that this world-class shipper’s roots in Portland are growing even deeper with this expansion.”

As a result of a long-term lease extension, Canpotex expects to increase its tonnage incrementally in the coming years. The construction will prompt private investment with local sourcing of materials, yielding increased tax revenue, new construction jobs and long-term employment.

“This is yet another prime example of the influx of private investments in marine industrial facilities on our river system,” said Wyatt. “Since completion of the Columbia River channel deepening project in 2010, companies have initiated and committed investments totaling more than $866 million in Portland facilities and approximately $3.7 billion along the river system to date.”

“Attracting this significant foreign direct investment relied on strong collaboration between PDC, the city, the Port and Canpotex,” said Patrick Quinton, executive director of the PDC. “We’re very pleased to be able to use the Enterprise Zone program to build Portland’s exports and bring considerable community benefits to North and Northeast Portland.”

Port Receives Accolades for Study on Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide

by Josh Thomas 9/11/2014 5:53 PM

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has announced the Port of Portland as recipient of an Environmental Achievement Award for its efforts to gain a better understanding of initiatives and trends in environmental protection and enhancement at ports around the globe.

The Port first partnered with the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports (I2S2) in 2010 to develop a white paper entitled, Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices. The Port and I2S2 worked together to research the geographic, community, financial and regulatory drivers that influence decisions related to sustainability by conducting interviews, online research and literature reviews.

The information was initially gathered to guide conversations around future marine terminal development in the Portland harbor. However, the research paper was designed such that the information could be universally accessible to any ports reaching the same critical decision points.

In 2013, the Port and I2S2 teamed up again to develop an updated version of the white paper, adding new information about environmental initiatives and assessing changing trends within the industry since the first release of the white paper. Staff from the Port and I2S2 has personally delivered the findings of the effort at conferences and with key stakeholder groups. The paper is also publicly available in many locations online.

AAPA granted the award to the Port in the category of Stakeholder Awareness, Education, and Involvement. The Port will be recognized, along with ports who took top honors in three other categories, on Thursday, Nov. 13, at AAPA’s 103rd Annual Convention and Exposition.

Earlier this month, the Port also earned a Special Recognition award from the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies for serving as a role model in using alternative stormwater management techniques at marine Terminal 6.

Related Link:

American Association of Port Authorities News Release

Propane Exports Fueling Plans for Historic Investment in Portland

by Josh Thomas 9/2/2014 6:33 AM

With private investment conservatively estimated at more than half a billion dollars, a new propane export facility in Portland could prove to be a massive boon for the local economy in coming years. It would represent one of the largest single private capital investments in the city’s history.

The Port announced today that Pembina Pipeline Corporation has entered into an agreement to develop a rail-served propane export facility that could be up and running by early 2018. Pembina is planning to construct and operate the facility on land adjacent to the east end of the Port’s marine Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District.

“This is great news,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards. This proposal meets these goals.”

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Pembina is one of Canada’s leading providers of transportation and logistics for the North American energy sector. Pembina is a time-tested operator with extensive experience in building propane facilities and safely transporting and storing propane in Canada and the U.S. The Portland facility would utilize state-of-the-art storage and safety measures.

“Signing an agreement with the Port of Portland is a tremendous start to making this project real. It marks the beginning of consulting with government and stakeholders,” said Mick Dilger, Pembina’s President and CEO. “Building trust with the communities where we operate is a top priority for Pembina. Over the last 60 years, we’ve developed a reputation for honesty, transparency and treating our stakeholders with respect.”

Upon completion, the propane export facility would receive approximately 37,000 barrels of propane per day. It is anticipated that most of the propane would be exported to Asian markets, where the cleaner burning propane will be utilized for various residential and industrial purposes.

“We have been extremely discerning when considering recent energy sector cargo opportunities, and after saying ‘no’ to coal and ‘not now’ to crude by rail, we are confident that we are saying ‘yes’ to the right partner at the right time,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “Propane has an excellent track record as a clean and safe alternative fuel, and I am impressed by the level of experience, expertise and commitment to safety that Pembina brings to the table.”

It is estimated that the project will generate between 600-800 temporary construction jobs and approximately 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. This employment is valued at approximately $7.2 million in wages and benefits annually. Additionally, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, as well as $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.

“It is not an overstatement to say this would be transformative not only for the Port’s bottom line, but for the significant influx of city, county and state tax revenue supporting our region.” said Wyatt. “We already handle exports of potash and wheat from Canada, and we’re excited to serve as the gateway for this new cargo type from our neighbors to the north.”

Winners of Industry & Art Exhibit Announced

by Annie Linstrom 8/26/2014 4:04 PM

Nearly 30 artists joined together in August to showcase artwork reflecting Portland’s working waterfront at the annual Industry & Art show in Portland.


The juried exhibit featured artwork that celebrates life along the Columbia and Willamette rivers, the people and industries working on the waterfront, and their natural and industrial surroundings. The exhibition was hosted by the Working Waterfront Coalition, a group focused on the environmental health and economic vitality of the Portland Harbor.


Judges reviewed each artist’s body of submitted work, and this year’s Industry & Art winners include:


·         First place winner Jef Gunn

·         Second place winner Michael Brophy

·         Third place winner Joseph Steininger


Artwork from the exhibit was on display at this year’s Seaport Celebration event, bringing more than 3,600 people to Terminal 4 -- a new record for attendance.


Approximately 60 paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures were selected for the exhibit. The artwork was available for purchase, and 50 percent of the proceeds went directly to benefit the Portland Community College Industrial Jobs Training Program Scholarship fund.


Related links:

Seaport Celebration

PCC Foundation

Industry & Art exhibit at Terminal 4 during the Port's Seaport Celebration event in August 2014

In Memoriam: Dick Montgomery

by Annie Linstrom 8/15/2014 4:44 PM

The Portland maritime community lost a great friend, historian and advocate with the passing of Dick Montgomery in July.

Montgomery handled advertising and public relations for the Commission for Public Docks from 1957 to 1971, including two successful bond campaigns. “Working on behalf of the Citizens Committee that benefited the Commission of Public Docks, I am particularly proud of helping to pass two general obligation bond measures,” said Montgomery in a past interview. “The two-to-one voter margin raised $22 million for Portland’s first container cranes and other harbor improvements.”

He contributed a wealth of knowledge and expertise during and after his 19 year career with the Port, retiring in 1995 as Maritime Public Affairs Manager. He was the editor of Portside, a popular publication read by many Port partners and stakeholders. Montgomery never truly left the Port, however, as he remained engaged as an informal mentor, historian, and committed champion of promoting trade on the river system. He was a regular attendee at Port Commission meetings and was on hand for events such as the 100-year anniversary of the Commission for Public Docks, Gateway to the Globe and most recently the opening of the dredge exhibit at the Oregon History Museum in May.

Montgomery was a past President of the Oregon Maritime Museum, and raised half a million dollars for upgrades to the Steamer Portland upon which the museum is located. He was also a docent for the museum, and you can still hear his voice narrating some of its videos. A great writer who penned a weekly transportation column in the Daily Shipping News for more than a dozen years, and numerous letters to The Oregonian editors, his last piece in the Spring issue of the museum’s newsletter, The Port Quarter, was about how history shaped the Port of Portland of today.

As written in the Spring 2007 Portside feature Titans of Trade, “With a love of the river and the state, Dick takes pride in his work and that of the Port, never missing the opportunity to share a bit of history, a signature story, or impart a word of ‘Old Salt’ wisdom.” Montgomery was the 1993 recipient of the "Old Salt" award, presented by the Portland Shipping Club for long service promoting the Columbia River shipping industry.

Port Invites Public to Join in the Fun at Seaport Celebration, Aug. 16

by Josh Thomas 8/11/2014 3:48 PM

The Port of Portland invites the public to go behind the scenes on the working waterfront to enjoy the summer family-friendly event of the year, Seaport Celebration, at marine Terminal 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Best of all, parking and admission are free.

Attendees can explore Portland’s thriving working waterfront on a jet boat ride, play “backhoe basketball,” climb aboard the last operating sternwheel steam towboat in the United States, check out local artwork portraying the waterfront in the Industry & Art exhibit, and enjoy good food while watching kids partner with professional chefs to compete for the title of “Kid Creation Chef” using Oregon exports as ingredients. With a kids fun zone for younger attendees, there is something for all ages.

  • Take a jet boat ride for $10 adults; $5 kids; 2 and under is free (first come, first served -- space is limited)
  • Explore interactive displays, including welding and melting metal
  • Play games and contests, bring home giveaways and prizes
  • Taste a variety of local flavors from Portland’s top food carts
  • Enjoy the outdoor art gallery and live entertainment on stage

The event will showcase a variety of local musicians on the main stage. From indie-rock to traditional African melodies, the nationally acclaimed headlining trio Recess Monkey will perform throughout the event, along with local bands Okropong and the Alphabeticians.

Some of Portland’s top food carts will be serving meals available for purchase, including Ash Wood Fired Pizza, Burgerville Nomad, Boyd’s Coffee, Gamila Café, Moberi Smoothies, Portland Ice Cream Company and Portland’s iconic donut shop, Voodoo Donuts.

Terminal 4 is located on the Willamette River in the St. Johns neighborhood at 11040 N. Lombard Street. The 262-acre, multi-use terminal is home to a distribution center for Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles, liquid agricultural fertilizer imports for International Raw Materials, soda ash exports used in the manufacture of glass, and a flour mill.


Event details and directions are available at www.seaportcelebration.com.

Dredge Oregon Prepares for New Life

by Josh Thomas 6/6/2014 5:31 PM

Think of it as the mechanical equivalent of a heart transplant. Replacing the inner workings that power the Dredge Oregon will allow it to more efficiently and effectively maintain the region’s vital lifeline with international markets – otherwise known as the navigation channel. Starting next week, Harbor Acceptance Testing will stress test the Oregon before it begins the next chapter of its already long life on the river.


Since 1965, the Dredge Oregon has been the workhorse of the Columbia River, removing sand bars and other navigation hazards from the navigation channel. The dredge operates around the clock, typically from June through October each year, working from Tongue Point near Astoria and inland 103.5 miles to the Portland Harbor. In its lifetime, it has seen consolidation of the Port with the Commission of Public Docks, eruption of Mt. St. Helens and deepening of the channel to 43 feet. But the Oregon was pushing 50 at a time when the average age of a dredging vessel is 25 years.


The Port initiated an ambitious repower project in November 2012. In two phases, work was performed locally to replace the main engine and pump, generators, and a variety of other key components. The investment in upgrades will allow the Dredge Oregon to operate cleaner and more efficiently.  It will reduce diesel particulate emissions by 88 percent and lower greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.


During the Harbor Acceptance Testing, the Dredge Oregon will be in the Willamette River simulating full scale operations using a small, governed pipeline. Water will be pumped during the testing, but the simulation will not involve any actual dredging and environmental precautions will be taken to ensure that the tests do not disturb fish or sediment. All aspects of the operation are fully vetted and closely monitored.


The Port serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ local sponsor of the federal navigation channels of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The Port owns and operates the dredge under contract with a crew of 42 employees. It is a non-propelled, cutter (suction) dredge with a steel superstructure and hull capable of dredging 1,000 to 1,200 cubic yards of material per hour.


Similar to road maintenance, dredges help ensure safe and efficient passage of ships carrying cargo to and from points around the globe. America’s Marine Highway System, as designated by the Maritime Administration, consists of more than 29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways and the Columbia and Willamette rivers are a critical part of that system. Approximately 42 million tons of cargo moves through the deep draft lower Columbia River annually, valued at roughly $20 billion.



For more information about dredging and the Dredge Oregon, visit the Oregon History Museum’s new exhibit “Working on the River.”

Related Link:


Working on the River: A History of Dredging


Auto Business Drives Rivergate Land Sale to BNSF Railway

by Josh Thomas 5/5/2014 11:59 AM

Already one of the largest auto import gateways in the U.S., Portland is also a fast growing gateway for auto exports. The improving auto market and recent influx of domestically produced vehicles for regional and international markets has prompted the sale of 5.4 acres from the Port of Portland to BNSF Railway.


Located in Rivergate Industrial District, BNSF Railway's 27-acre North Rivergate Vehicle Facility is expanding operations and capacity to include enhanced administrative support, vehicle staging and parking. The adjacent Port-owned property offered additional capacity and a rail easement to support expansion.


“BNSF Railway’s investment and growth plans for their auto business are aligned with the Port’s business objectives to enhance the Portland region as a hub for auto logistics,” said Joe Mollusky, real estate program manager for the Port.


BNSF Railway’s automotive rail network provides access to automotive plants throughout the United States and Mexico. Cars and trucks are received by rail in BNSF Railway’s Rivergate facility, processed and then distributed by truck to auto dealerships or exported by ship.


Autos are handled at two of the Port of Portland’s four marine terminals. Until 2012, the Port was primarily an import gateway, but automotive exports to Korea and China are now experiencing strong growth. Portland is the second largest auto import gateway on the U.S. West Coast and fifth largest in the nation.


Exports to China began just recently in October 2013, supported by a $2.8 million expansion of Auto Warehousing Company’s vehicle processing facility at the Port’s Terminal 6.


About Port Dispatch

 Editor: Josh Thomas
Production Team: Martha Richmond, Randy Fischer, Melissa Valli, Henry Gonzalez, Teri Loporchio, Jerry McCarthy, Brooke Berglund 
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