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Experts Predict More Trade for Ports

by Bill Stewart
The Oregonian, May 20, 2004

Washington's public ports can add substantially to the economy,
an agency is told, as long as infrastructure keeps up

VANCOUVER -- Washington's public ports can expect sustained growth -- pushed by more shipping containers in Puget Sound and export grains in the lower Columbia River -- but it will take work on highways, rail lines and waterways, according to a forecast released Wednesday.

A lineup of consultants told the Washington Public Ports Association, meeting in Vancouver, that one in three Washington jobs depends on international trade and that opportunities will continue to grow.

But Paul Sorensen of BST Associates in Kirkland warned the rosy forecast did not consider infrastructure problems that are slowing truck and train cargo. Railroads need more tracks and bypasses around congested areas such as Vancouver's switching yards, and trucks get trapped in freeway congestion.

He said trade with China is the most promising, and Japan's business will be the slowest growing. He predicted ports in Washington could see annual growth rates of 5 percent to 6 percent during the next five years.

Sorensen detailed the differing futures of various cargo:

Bill Stewart
Experts Predict More Trade for Ports
The Oregonian, May 20, 2004

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