Sponsored by Oregon Business

Shipping: East meets East in Umatilla

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2006
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

Mayoral musings

Linda Baker
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
091515-mayors-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be the year of the outsider, with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump capturing leads in the polls and the headlines. In Portland, Wheeler vs. Hales is bucking the outlier trend.


5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman

The Latest
Thursday, August 13, 2015

Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


Child care challenge

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.


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.


Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

We get the education we deserve.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02