Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Port of Portland to Begin Auto Exports

The Port of Portland, which for years has had a thriving business importing autos from Asia, is now preparing to send cars back the other way.

The port has confirmed that it’s expected to begin exporting American-made vehicles to South Korea later this month under a recently-signed deal.

Under the contract, Tacoma-based shipper Auto Warehousing Co. will send about 10,000 Ford vehicles to South Korea this year, with the amount possibly increasing in subsequent years. The port also has preliminary plans to upgrade its Terminal 6 vehicle handling facility, which Auto Warehousing manages, to accommodate the expected increase in traffic.

Portland is the fourth largest auto import gateway in the U.S., according to the port, and up to now, it has only imported autos, particularly ones from Asian countries. Through the first 11 months of 2011, it handled 208,900 imported autos, putting it on pace for a decline from the 264,400 it handled throughout all of 2010.

The port processes imports of Honda, Hyundai and Toyota vehicles from Japan and South Korea.