Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Port of Portland Sells Acreage to BNSF

By Mark Edward Nero

An improving auto market and recent influx of domestically produced vehicles for regional and international markets have prompted the sale of 5.4 acres from the Port of Portland to BNSF Railway, the port said May 5.

BNSF Railway’s 27-acre North Rivergate Vehicle Facility, located in the Rivergate Industrial District, is expanding operations and capacity to include enhanced administrative support, vehicle staging and parking. The adjacent port-owned property was acquired to offer additional capacity and a rail easement to support expansion.

“BNSF Railway’s investment and growth plans for their auto business are aligned with the port’s business objectives to enhance the Portland region as a hub for auto logistics,” Port of Portland real estate program manager Joe Mollusky said.

BNSF’s automotive rail network provides access to automotive plants throughout the United States and Mexico. Cars and trucks are received by rail in BNSF Railway’s Rivergate facility, processed and then distributed by truck to auto dealerships or exported by ship. Portland, which is already one of the largest auto import gateways in the US, is also a fast growing gateway for auto exports. Autos are handled at two of the Port of Portland’s four marine terminals.

The port was primarily an import gateway until 2012, but automotive exports to South Korea and China have been experiencing strong growth over the past couple of years. Additionally, exports to China began in October 2013, prompting a $2.8 million expansion of Auto Warehousing Company’s vehicle processing facility at the port’s Terminal 6.

Portland is the second largest auto import gateway on the US West Coast and fifth largest in the nation.