Sponsored by Oregon Business

Shipping: East meets East in Umatilla

| Print |  Email
Monday, May 01, 2006

PORT OF UMATILLA — When longtime business professor Kim Puzey arrived to run the Port of Umatilla 12 years ago, it was in deep debt with a loading crane built in 1940. Puzey has since helped erase the debt and snag $3.8 million in federal funds for a new crane to offload shipping containers. Now, he’s ready to make Umatilla an international trade hub. Don’t snicker. His port may be nearly 300 miles up the Columbia, but he’s forging some strong ties with Chinese companies looking to bypass the crowded ports of Long Beach and Seattle-Tacoma.

Kim Puzey, Port of Umatilla

Photo courtesy of the Port of Umatilla

Oregon Business: Why were you in China last year?

Kim Puzey: There are 1.3 billion people in China and I’ve got this crane at a dinky little port in Eastern Oregon. I was sure I could get connected with someone out of those 1.3 billion.

We met with folks at Yichang, the Yangtse River port that is most like Umatilla. We’re drafting an agreement to share assistance and information. Since the trip, we had a visitor in Windy Pang, general manager of the Chongqing Kingstar Science & Technology Co. Ltd. (an import-export outfit). She’s interested in building a distribution center at the Port of Umatilla for export products — all-terrain vehicles, motorcycle parts, generators. If we get a distribution center, we’ll get retailers and wholesalers interested and everybody is going to be jumping up and down.

How would you fill the containers back up for export?
I’m really close to signing a deal to export logs, scrap metal and hides. It’s so close the walls are bulging around here. I also know there are french fries being trucked from Eastern Washington into Puget Sound.

Why wouldn’t shippers just continue using rail and truck freight?
We are not that much slower than the train and you need a lot of real estate to park a train. We are $100 less per load than a truck, plus there’s an environmental advantage with just one engine per 600 containers versus the one engine per load with a truck.

This comes just a few years after the Port of Portland lost 40% of its container service.
We might just turn this thing around.It’s been painful year and half. Ship-ping companies can do more trips and make more money by bringing high-value goods from Asia and head back empty from Long Beach and the Puget Sound. So they haven’t had to take on our agriculture exports. When I’m out talking to people in China, I’m marketing Portland 50% of the time. All our imports and exports would come by ship to Portland, then offload by barge tow to come up here.

— Oakley Brooks
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Run, Nick, Run

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Controversial track star Nick Symmonds is leveraging his celebrity to grow a performance chewing-gum brand. Fans hail his marketing ploys as genius. Critics dub them shameless.


Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Social media transforming sports business

The Latest
Thursday, September 24, 2015

The traditional model of sports teams using paid media to get their message across is disappearing as teams look instead to social media to interact with fans.


The 5 most/least expensive rental neighborhoods in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, September 24, 2015
092515neighborhoodthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregon's population is booming, and so are rental costs.


Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


5 marijuana business people share strategy ahead of recreational sales rollout

The Latest
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ahead of the recreational rollout, what are dispensary owners most concerned about ?

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02