By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Portland and tenant Auto Warehousing Co. have been awarded a $2.6 million grant by the Oregon Department of Transportation to partially fund a $7 million expansion of auto handling facilities in the Rivergate Industrial District near Terminal 6, the port said Aug. 22.
Plans call for Auto Warehousing to develop a new 18.9-acre storage and staging yard to support the continued growth of export vehicles.
Auto Warehousing leased 130 acres at Terminal 6 in 2005 and currently handles the import of Hyundai vehicles into the US and the export of Ford vehicles manufactured in North America bound for China and Korea.
Export volumes have grown steadily in the last several years, bringing the total vehicles moved by Auto Warehousing to 126,000 in the last 12 months. Across the Port of Portland marine terminals, auto shipments were up 14 percent during the previous fiscal year, which ended in June.
Last week, the Portland Port Commission approved a lease to Auto Warehousing for the expansion lot with an initial eight-year term and four five-year options. If all options are exercised, the lease would extend to April 2045.
The port committed $871,300 to the project with the tenant providing matching funds of $3.5 million. That amount, along with the $2.6 million state grant, equals the project’s total $7 million cost.
“Exports are the real success story,” the Port of Portland’s director of marine marketing, Sebastian Degens said, “not just for the Port of Portland, but for the whole American automobile industry. International export is a boost to the economy here, as well as in the heartland where the manufacturing takes place.”