Coos Bay port buys railroad, plans for future shipping terminal

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009

COOS BAY After more than a year of vociferous conflict between federal, state and regional officials and the owner of the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad, the International Port of Coos Bay has said it will buy the 126-mile line for $16.6 million. The purchase will allow the port to reopen a critical freight route between Eugene and Coquille that’s used by forest-product, natural-gas and manufacturing companies. Reopening the line also puts the Port of Coos Bay back in a competitive position to build a $300 million to $700 million international shipping terminal.

Conflict over the line began in fall of 2007 after its then-new owner — Boca Raton, Fla.-based RailAmerica — shut down the railroad and asked the state of Oregon for $30 million to repair three of the line’s 125-year-old tunnels. It was a suggestion that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) slammed as “extortion.” Shippers such as Georgia-Pacific, Roseburg Forest Products and Reedsport’s American Bridge were suddenly forced to switch to trucking, which created a combined loss of approximately $500,000 a month to all rail-dependent shippers in the region. After RailAmerica tried to abandon the railroad, DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden took the fight to Washington, D.C., and created legislation that allowed the port to purchase the line.

But buying the railroad doesn’t solve its existing problems. Martin Callery, the director of freight mobility at the Port of Coos Bay, says the port will not act as operator. The agency will, however, need to spend $4 million to repair a minimum of three of the line’s nine tunnels — some of which have support timbers that are estimated to be 95 years old. Service to a few miles of line near Eugene, which serves facilities owned by Roseburg Forest Products and the Swanson Group, could be restored before the tunnels are fixed.

“We have to see if there’s enough revenue traffic to justify putting it in operation right away,” Callery says.

In 2007, APM Terminals, a division of the Danish container-shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, approached Coos Bay about building a massive container-shipping terminal in the bay. Now that the line will reopen, Callery says that company and others are still interested in the port. Shipping firms are cutting back on new projects around the globe, Callery says, but Coos Bay is seen as one of only a few places that would help ease congestion in West Coast ports in decades to come.                         

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

More Articles

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Read more...

The 10 most successful crowdfunding campaigns in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
081915-crowdfundingmainBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

One of the hottest new investment trends has proven quite lucrative for some companies.


Read more...

Photo Log: Shooting 10 innovators in rural health care

The Latest
Monday, August 03, 2015
007blogBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

You may have noticed the photos of our rural health innovators departed from the typical Oregon Business aesthetic.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS