OIPCB Receives $50,000 from the State of Oregon to Complete Feasibility Study

News and Information from 

Oregon International Port of Coos Bay

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2017

The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is pleased to announce the recent award of a $50,000 grant from Business Oregon to complete a feasibility study, evaluating infrastructure needs and developing a cost analysis to construct a multi-use rail served marine terminal on the North Spit. 

Business Oregon’s Infrastructure Finance Authority administers the funds, making grants up to $50,000 to Oregon Ports to help fund planning or marketing studies related to expanding their trade and commerce activities.  This includes developing and marketing facilities and services that support multiple industries in the state, including agriculture, aviation, fishing, maritime, commerce, transportation, tourism/recreation and wood products.  The Port owns approximately 400 acres of greenfield industrial property zoned for marine industrial use on the North Spit.   With just one to two hours transit time to open ocean and direct connectivity to the national rail network through the Coos Bay Rail Link, the Port has long identified this area for future industrial development and economic growth in the region. 

A Port-owned multi-use marine terminal with rail access on the North Spit would serve to significantly increase import and export capacity in the State of Oregon, offering the capacity to handle a variety of cargoes.  A recent study prepared by EcoNorthwest for Business Oregon found that at nearly 40,000 40-foot containers of agricultural goods from the mid- and southern Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, and the Oregon Coast travel to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma in order to be exported.  Agricultural and natural resource based industries in Oregon are struggling to move their goods to world markets in a timely and cost-efficient manner.  This flow of cargo in and out of Oregon via the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma adds to the ever increasing congestion and bottleneck challenges facing the State of Oregon's highway system in our metro areas.  Many other non-containerized cargoes leave Oregon before being exported to foreign markets, adding to growing congestion challenges, increasing wear and tear on highway infrastructure, and green house gas emissions.

 

Congestion at major port authorities such as Seattle, Tacoma, and L.A./Long Beach continue to cripple the movement of freight in and out of the northwest.  Cargo can sit at terminals for 1-5 days, and even more awaiting pickup for more than 10 days.  Many shippers have diverted cargo to the U.S. East Coast ports and Western Canadian Ports.  This indicates an opportunity for small ports to be a viable destination for shipping carriers who want better customer service and faster turnaround time.

The maritime shipping industry has evolved significantly in the past decade, not only with increased vessel size, but in massive consolidation and mergers of several carriers into four major alliances.  The formation of these alliances was in reaction to the significant worldwide economic downturn in the late 2000's.  As global economies continue to change and grow, creating opportunities for diversified freight movement is essential.  The time has come to tap into niche markets that can evolve as a result of these changes.

Additionally, the shipping industry is facing new and evolving challenges surrounding the need to reduce its carbon footprint.  Over the past decade, the shipping industry has worked with policy makers and technology providers to develop solutions to improve air emissions.  As part of this feasibility study, the Port proposes including an analysis on ways to implement new technologies in development of a multi-use terminal.  As a smaller port, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has the capacity to grow, but is not locked into legacy technologies and old ways of operating.  Our port can be nimble and responsive in a way that the large ports may not, handling a variety of cargoes.

Coos Bay's channel is ideally located  on Oregon's Southern Coast.  The Port boasts the largest coastal deep-water channel between San Francisco and the Puget Sound.  The navigation channel is just 15 miles long, taking only 2 hours to reach open ocean from river mile 15.  The geographic location of the Port of Coos Bay is optimal for shipping to Asia and other international markets.  Coos Bay has access to a comprehensive multi-modal transportation network, including convenient access to marine, rail, air, and highway modes.  The North Spit has direct access to the Federal Navigation Channel, as well as a rail spur connecting it to the Coos Bay Rail Line.  The rail line connects directly to the Union Pacific yard in Eugene, providing connectivtiy to the national rail network.  The Port is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a project to deepen and widen the Federal Navigation Channel from -37' deep and 300' nominal width to -45' deep and 450' wide. 

As the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay looks to the future and efforts to further the mission of promoting sustainable development that enhances the economy of soutwest Oregon and the State, the Port is pleased to partner with the State of Oregon to plan for future investment and development in the region.

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For additional media information, please contact:

Margaret Barber, External Affairs Manager, Port of Coos Bay
            Phone 541.267.3713 / E-mail: mbarber@portofcoosbay.com