As an industry that relies on the Columbia-Snake River system, we at JT Marine Inc. know first-hand how important it is to the region’s economy. As the second largest carrier of waterborne freight in the country, the river system supports billions of dollars worth of cargo and tens of thousands of jobs throughout the Northwest.
The truth is that the Columbia River has ample room for growth. Over the past decade, investments have been made to increase the Columbia-Snake River system’s capacity, such as lock upgrades and channel deepening. Unfortunately, due to factors such as the declining timber industry and the recent Great Recession, local barge traffic has largely been in decline since after peaking in the mid-1990s.
Today the Morrow Pacific project at the Port of Morrow in Eastern Oregon is developing a new export industry that will use covered barges to safely ship coal downriver. Not only will the project create much-needed family-wage jobs and economic development for our region, but it’s also an opportunity to better utilize our waters. Oregon and Washington need both a healthy natural environment and jobs that support families, strong communities and good schools. The Morrow Pacific project has been designed to help both needs and responsibly utilize the Columbia-Snake River System.