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Port may Bring in Short Sea Shipping

by Staff
East Oregonian, December 11, 2008

You may not want to try to say it three times quickly, but short sea shipping could pay off for the Port of Umatilla with increased freight traffic.

Commissioners heard a preliminary plan at Tuesday's meeting on bringing short sea shipping to the port. Steve Miller, president of James Farrell and Co., presented the idea to the port's leaders.

Short sea shipping involves taking freight off highways and shipping it via the ocean or inland waterways.

Port of Umatilla General Manager Kim Puzey said the idea emerged 50 years ago on the East Coast when container ships were developed and the nation's highways and railroads reached capacity.

The shipping would yield many advantages with routes being proposed from Umatilla to Seattle and Umatilla to Portland and then Seattle, said Puzey.

"The move would take a large majority of the trucks - carrying freight - off the road," Puzey said.

He added the port has been shipping freight on Interstate 84 from Idaho since 1994, however the proposed short sea shipping would use the underused Columbia-Snake River system.

"We want to intercept the freight here and send it up the gorge," Puzey said.

By doing that, the commissioners would meet their main goal.

"Mainly, we are trying to alleviate traffic in the Seattle-metro area," Puzey said.

He said the commissioners embraced Miller's concept of how a short sea shipping project would work at the port, but cautioned it still is just a concept that needs developing.

"It will take a lot of work to bring it to fruition," Puzey said.

The commissioners' next meeting will be Jan. 13.

Port may Bring in Short Sea Shipping
East Oregonian, December 11, 2008

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