Trade and Transportation Studies

The following is a list of trade and transportation studies the Port of Portland has either funded or helped develop.

Economic Impact Analysis 

Steer and Fourth Economy have undertaken an investigation into the Port of Portland’s regional
economic and equity impacts through conducting the following studies:

  • An Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) that looks at the effect of the Port on regional employment and value added (local contribution to GDP);
  • An investigation into the Wider Economic Benefits, which go beyond the scope of EIA by looking at the productivity gains to the region’s firms and workers due to the presence of the Port; and
  • A Workforce Demographics and Equity study that shines a light on the demographics of the workforce that is supported by the Port.

View the full Economic Impact Study (2023)
Port of Portland Workforce Demographics and Equity - FINAL REPORT (2023) 

Martin Associates, a Lancaster, PA-based economics research and consulting firm, conducted an economic impact study of the Port’s marine, aviation, and industrial park activities for calendar year 2006, 2011 and fiscal year 2015. The Port has periodically conducted these analyses of its maritime, aviation, and industrial park activities to quantify its contribution towards its mission of enhancing the region’s economy and quality of life.

The Local and Regional Economic Impacts of The Portland Harbor, 2015
Economic Value of Port of Portland Investment in Infrastructure
The Economic Impacts of the Port of Portland Real Estate Tenants, 2011
2015 Detail Report (PDF) 
2011 Detail Report (PDF) 
2006 Detail Report (PDF)

Use of Freight and Business Impact Criteria for Evaluating Transportation Projects
The study, performed by Economic Research Group (EDRG), seeks to address the need to apply new methods in order to differentiate transportation projects that are particularly critical for business and economic growth, by asking: (a) why it makes sense to give weight to freight movement and critical business routes in the evaluation and prioritization of transportation investments, and (b) how a methodology and process can be implemented to appropriately take consideration of critical freight and business activities in the decision-making process. The Port of Portland partnered with the Portland Business Alliance on this study.

Executive Summary (PDF)
Detailed Report (PDF)

International Trade and Logistics Initiative Report 
The International Trade and Logistics Initiative released a report with recommendations to help Oregon businesses facing logistics challenges due to the loss of weekly Port of Portland Terminal 6 container service and changes in the international maritime and transportation industries. In April 2015, Governor Kate Brown launched the Initiative—a partnership of Business Oregon, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Port—to identify trade-related, freight logistics solutions to help small- and medium-sized businesses across Oregon stay competitive. The goal is to help Oregon businesses move freight to markets and compete globally. 

The report and letter may be found here:
Steering Committee Report (PDF: 1.95 MB)
Agency Letter (PDF)
Media Release (PDF)
Appendix 1 - Research Analysis (PDF)
Appendix 2 - Stakeholder Engagement Report (PDF)
Appendix 3 - Concepts and Business Case Analysis (PDF)

Columbia Multimodal Corridor Study 
The Columbia Multimodal Corridor spans a wide range of land uses and zoning, as well as business activity and is a vital component to the economic health and vitality of the greater Portland metropolitan region. With expected growth in both jobs and housing over the next 20 years, congested roadways are a threat to businesses’ ability to be cost competitive and maintain reliable travel times. Businesses surveyed as part of this study indicated that access to efficient, multimodal transportation is the reason they are located here. The study examines current and future congestion and travel times in order to identify bottlenecks that will erode the Corridor’s transportation advantage. This study is a roadmap for businesses as well as regional planners to make smart, strategic investments. 

The study and appendix may be found here:
Final Report (PDF: 14.7 MB)
Technical Appendix (PDF: 55 MB)

The Cost of Highway Limitations and Traffic Delay to Oregon's Economy
The state's economy is transportation dependent, with over 400,000 Oregon jobs or 1 in 5, dependent on the transportation systems for their operation. Oregon is the 9th most trade dependent economy in the United States and a gateway to global markets. Despite Oregon's excellent rail, marine, highway and air connections to national and international destinations, projected growth in freight and general traffic cannot be accommodated on the existing system. Increasing congestion and travel time delay statewide will significantly impact the state's ability to grow and maintain jobs and our quality of life. This study, commissioned by the Port of Portland, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Business Council, and other businesses and agencies statewide, examines the impact of congestion and traffic delay to twelve of Oregon's major businesses and evaluates the cost to our state economy.

Executive Summary (PDF)
Detailed Report (PDF)

Working Harbor Reinvestment Strategy
The Working Harbor Reinvestment Strategy is a 10-year program of coordinated public investments in the economic vitality of the working harbor industrial districts. The strategy will focus on land, work force and public infrastructure improvements that stimulate private industrial reinvestment. The strategy is being prepared as an economic development component of the River Plan, North Reach - a comprehensive plan of the land along the Willamette River in Portland and includes investments in northwest Portland, Linnton, lower Albina, Swan Island and Rivergate by the city of Portland, Portland Development Commission, and the Port of Portland. 

Business interviews are a part of the strategy. Conducted by staff in 2006, the interviews included business and property owners and other industry stakeholders in the harbor area, with the purpose of identifying expansion opportunities, harbor area advantages and constraints, and industrial priorities for public investments. Here are conclusions distilled from the interviews:

  • Industry is expanding and reinvesting in the harbor districts.
  • Overcommitted rail appears to be the area's most pressing competitive need.
  • Road congestion is widely affecting industry.

Working Harbor Reinvestment Strategy (PDF)

Portland/Vancouver International and Domestic Trade Capacity Analysis Study
To better inform Port business planning and provide input into the regional planning processes, a consortium of agencies commissioned the following study of trade patterns affecting the Portland/ Vancouver region. The information from the analyses will provide input into regional planning efforts.

Detail Report (PDF: 2 MB)

The Cost of Congestion to the Economy of the Portland Region
Portland boasts excellent air, highway, marine and rail connections to national and international destinations. Businesses have located in the greater Portland area to benefit from our transportation advantages and, as a result, the region’s economy is largely transportation-dependent. 

However, projected growth in freight and other types of traffic cannot be accommodated on the region’s current transportation infrastructure. As congestion increases so do the potential impacts to our region’s ability to sustain a robust economy and our cherished quality of life. 

To better understand the challenges posed by increased traffic congestion, the Port of Portland, the Portland Business Alliance and Metro commissioned a study to provide base-line information about the relationship between investments in transportation and the region’s economy.

2014 Cost of Congestion on Portland and Oregon (PDF: 8 MB)

Detail Report (PDF: 10 MB)

Portland International Airport Terminal Access Study
The terminal access study was conducted during 2004/05 to address how Portland International Airport should accommodate all passenger terminal area access modes (including pedestrians, bicycles, buses/vans, light rail, private vehicles, and rental cars) as the airport grows from approximately 12.4 million annual passengers (MAP) in 2003 to 23 MAP in the future. This study is an update of the 1994 Terminal Access Study which addressed similar growth issues to accommodate the then assumed 20 year growth forecast to approximately 18 MAP in 2013. The primary need for this update is based on the findings of the 2000 PDX Master Plan (Decentralized Alternative, Phase 1), as well as 1) new mode choice patterns resulting from the opening of regional light rail transit service to the terminal in 2001; 2) changes in passenger time of arrival, re-circulation, and parking usage patterns due to Federal security requirements as a result of September 11, 2001; and 3) changes resulting from the increased volume of low-fare airline passengers and reduction of international service. After much analysis and input from stakeholder groups, this study results in forwarding two terminal landside growth concepts to be further evaluated against airfield and terminal needs in the upcoming PDX Master Plan update.

Detail Study (PDF: 15 MB)

Portland International Airport Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
The Portland International Airport Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan represents two elements of the Port’s alternative mode strategy at PDX. The plan includes policies, strategies, and facility maps that together reflect the Port of Portland’s intent regarding how we plan to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian facilities into development at PDX.

Detail Plan (PDF: 5.5 MB)

Rail Plan
In order to ensure the efficient movement of this cargo, to spur on economic recovery, and to take advantage of upcoming opportunities, the Port of Portland has prepared this update of its 20-year Rail Plan. The Plan identifies facility improvements both within the Port and around the region that will help the Port retain its competitive advantage. The updated Rail Plan will assist the Port in developing a pragmatic conceptual approach to rail system improvements for the next 20 years.

Final Plan (PDF: 55 MB)

Freight Rail and the Oregon Economy
Efficient and interconnected transportation networks are a key component in the health and growth of business today. While many appreciate the importance of shipping, trucking, and air cargo to the regional economy, the role of freight rail in this new dynamic is not as explicit. 

The Port commissioned a study to better understand freight rail´s role in the Oregon economy and its impact on the state´s industries. The study considers industries´ needs and public policy opportunities to enhance choices for the state´s shippers.

Detail Study (PDF: 4 MB)

Westside freight Access and Logistics analysis

The Westside Freight Access and Logistics Analysis study was commissioned by a consortium of public and private interests to address the Metropolitan Export Plan of improving market access to support export expansion opportunities for our regional job base; specifically the Computer and Electronics industry cluster. The work was broken into two efforts; 1) interviews of a sample of the C and E industries, their forwarders and carriers and 2) analysis of their needs relative to the current state of the transportation system upon which they rely. The analysis focused on short term solutions that potentially could address the issues of access to PDX or connections beyond within a reasonable time frame.

Final Report (PDF: 3.8 MB)

Economic Impact of Value-Added Regional Distribution Facilities
The Port of Portland commissioned the following study so it could better understand the value-added segment of the distribution industry's contributions to the region, and better estimate the overall industry's need for industrial land in the future. The study confirms the significant positive impacts that modern distribution-center operations have in the region. The study found the region's value-added distribution segment created nearly $810 million in personal earnings and paid $88.6 million in taxes to state and local governments in 2003. Because Portland serves as a major gateway to international trade, the city's percentage of total employment in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector ranks as one of the highest in the nation. With freight growing faster than the population, this sector will play an increasingly important role in this region's economy.

Detail Study

Regional Commodity Movement Forecast
In 2012 Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Port of Vancouver USA, and the Port of Portland cooperatively funded a project to estimate current regional freight volumes and predict future volumes by commodity type by mode. The project was an update to the region´s most recent commodity flow forecast (conducted in 2002) and a forecast of cargo by mode/commodity moving in, out, and through the region.

2002 Lower Columbia River Cargo Forecast - Final Report
2015 Commodity Flow Forecast - Final Report

Regional Industrial Site Readiness
The 2012 Regional Industrial Site Readiness report examined the supply of 25+ acre industrial sites available to accommodate the expansion and recruitment of traded-sector employers to the Portland metropolitan urban growth boundary and selected urban reserves. The study – commissioned by the Port of Portland, Portland Business Alliance, Business Oregon (an Oregon state agency), NAIOP Oregon Chapter (a commercial real estate development association) and Metro – identified a lack of development-ready large lot, industrial sites in the Portland metro region to attract and cultivate the types of catalytic employers that will help our region grow and thrive. It also identified the challenges, costs and benefits (jobs, state and local taxes) associated with the development of 12 large lot industrial sites with diverse characteristics, and highlighted the need for new policies and investments to increase the development-ready supply of industrial sites for traded-sector job growth.

Project Summary
Map of Inventory Sites
Inventory of Industrial Sites 

Port of Portland Transportation Improvement Plan (PTIP)
The following plan is a compilation of road, rail, waterway, transit, bike, pedestrian and transportation demand management projects that have been identified through transportation and other studies managed by or in coordination with the Port. The plan also identifies the Port’s transportation project priorities. 

Updated annually and approved by the Port of Portland Commission, the PTIP provides a long-range vision of transportation improvements that support the Port's mission.

2024 Draft Plan (PDF: 4 MB)

2022 Final Plan (PDF: 5 MB)
2021 Final Plan (PDF: 5 MB)
2020 Final Plan (PDF: 16 MB)
2019 Final Plan (PDF: 10 MB)
2018 Final Plan (PDF: 9.60 MB)
2017 Final Plan (PDF: 10 MB)
2016 Final Plan (PDF: 9.86 MB)
2015 Final Plan (PDF: 10 MB)
2014 Final Plan (PDF: 10 MB)

Brownfield/Greenfield Development Cost Comparison Study (2005)
As part of an ongoing regional discussion on the availability, quality and cost of servicing industrial land, the Port of Portland, Metro, the Portland Development Commission and the Portland Bureau of Planning sponsored a Brownfield/Greenfield Development Cost Comparison Study. Using a case study approach, this paper evaluates and contrasts the costs of industrial development on brownfield and greenfield sites in the Portland metropolitan region. Proposed industrial uses for the study included an industrial park, high tech manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, and general industrial. The case studies are based on a pro forma analysis of a physical layout and development of each industrial use on individual brownfields and greenfields. 

The study presents findings and conclusions based on each proposed land use and discuses opportunities to affect the policy, regulatory and funding framework for industrial brownfield redevelopment at the state, regional and local level.

Executive Summary (PDF: 2 MB)
Detail Study (PDF: 19 MB)

Portland Harbor Marine Cargo Forecast
In 2020 Metro, the Port of Portland funded a study to estimate future potential Portland Harbor marine cargo volumes and project future volumes by commodity type. The project was a follow-up and update to the region´s most recent commodity flow forecast (conducted in 2012) and a forecast of marine cargo by commodity moving in, out, and through the region.

Port of Portland Container Forecast 2021
Portland Harbor Marine Cargo Forecast, 2020