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|Articles - October 2010|
|Tuesday, September 28, 2010|
Three navigation locks along the Columbia and Snake rivers will close in December for the longest period ever, prompting the grain industry to adapt and the barge lines to plan layoffs.
Every year the navigation locks along the Columbia and Snake River close for two weeks for routine maintenance, but this year’s closure will last for 14 weeks. The Dalles, John Day and Lower Monumental locks are being replaced at a cost of more than $42 million funded in part by the American Recovering and Reinvestment Act. Engineers are concerned about mechanical failure of the 50-year-old equipment. The maintenance effectively closes off the entire inland system, which pressures producers and exporters to adapt
Portland-based Shaver Transportation is using its 16 grain barges for storage during the closure and laying off the crews who operate them. Tidewater Barge Lines, based in Vancouver, generates 85% of its revenue above The Dalles. Out of 17 barge tugs, only two will be active. “We are going to be laying off right through the organization,” says Tidewater spokesman John Pigott. The barge lines want to move product before the closure.
Approximately 75% of all white wheat is moved by barge because the Columbia River flows through the primary growing regions. Industry leaders have been planning for the closure for more than a year. Some producers will use alternative transportation methods such as rail and truck, but most are trying to ship their grain early. “A little bit of everything will get the job done,” says Steve Wirsching with the U.S. Wheat Association.
However, shipping the grain early leads to storage capacity problems. “We are trying to accumulate as many loaded barges as we can get prior to the closure,” says Portland-based Columbia Grain’s CEO Tom Hammond. Columbia Grain has a total storage capacity of 4 million bushels and loads approximately 300 barges a year. The closure will cut about 25% of those barges from the schedule, but Columbia Grain will continue to load rail cars and trucks. Mid Columbia Producers will continue to load barges from its elevator located on the west side of The Dalles.
Those involved are working to minimize the length of the closure, maximize the maintenance completed and maintain the supply of goods. It’s not a “doom-and-gloom situation,” says Rob Rich of Shaver Transportation. He understands the maintenance is critical and will keep the locks functional for another 50 to 70 years.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For project attracted more than 150 nonprofits from around the state from a variety of sectors, including social services and environmental advocacy. More than 5,000 employees and volunteers filled out the survey, rating their satisfaction with work environment, mission and goals, career development and learning, benefits and compensation, and management and communications.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
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.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS | CFA
Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
BY 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.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS | CFA
On September 17, the much anticipated Fed decision was delivered and the equity markets haven't liked it.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.
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