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Port of Portland is Ford’s export partner

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 04, 2013

Ford has always been regarded as one this nation’s greatest innovators, and appears to be the first U.S. automaker to be staging a manufacturing comeback. This is paying off in unforeseen dividends for a niche port in the Pacific Northwest: Portland.

In keeping with emerging market forecasts posted here by leading trade analysts, port authorities estimate that 30,000 Ford vehicles will be exported through Portland to China for the first time.

Following inspections by Chinese government auditors, Auto Warehousing Company’s (AWC) facility at Terminal 6 received full approval, meaning that export shipments can now begin through Portland. The country will soon open its doors to a variety of new Ford cars and trucks coming from several plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The first shipment will happen in coming weeks.

In anticipation of surging Chinese middle-class demand, AWC will be hiring up to 50 people immediately at its 130-acre Terminal 6 facility to process vehicles and prepare them for the Chinese market. A $2.8 million project to expand the processing building by 27,000 square feet and increase capacity to more than 110,000 vehicles annually is nearing completion.

Portland spokesmen say it was fitting for the port to be selected to handle the Fords, since it is already the second largest auto import gateway on the U.S. West Coast and fifth largest in the nation. Indeed, the port has specialized in handling vehicles since 1953. Portland also began exporting Fords to South Korea for the first time in January 2012—the first vehicle exports since 1988 – and that business continues today.

With a diverse cargo portfolio that also includes grain, minerals, containers, steel products and more, Portland has a longstanding trade relationship and a multitude of connections with China. This dates back to 1980 when Portland was the first U.S. port-of-call for goods from mainland China following restoration of diplomatic relations.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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