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News / Business / Clark County Business

2022 was a success, Port of Vancouver reports

CEO Marler: ‘Creating jobs and economic opportunities for the community remains a focus for us’

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 30, 2023, 6:00am

Sun shone through the windows of the AC Hotel Vancouver Waterfront on Thursday evening as the Port of Vancouver released its first in-person State of the Port report since 2019.

The setting was ideal, and the news was seemingly good as well, with the report showing that the port netted nearly $58 million in revenue in 2022, up from $48 million in 2021.

The year was a success, CEO Julianna Marler said in the video report that was shown to the audience. The port, she noted, has been a part of Vancouver’s community for 111 years.

The AC Hotel opened last summer at the port’s Terminal 1, where construction is underway on a mixed-use office tower to house local technology company ZoomInfo. Later in the fall, reconstruction is expected to begin on the pier that someday will hold the port’s public market.

Port of Vancouver by the numbers

7.3 million: Metric tons of cargo that the port moved in 2022.

800: Acres of operating facilities that the port oversees.

99 percent: Amount of the port’s industrial space that is occupied.

361: Number of ships that passed through the port in 2022.

68,000: Number of rail cars that passed through the port in 2022.

Downriver, the port’s industrial hub is bustling. In its report, the port said it moved 7.3 million metric tons of cargo last year, topping the 7.1 million tons moved in 2021.

To make that happen, 361 ships and 68,000 rail cars passed through the port in 2022. Both exceeded the tallies of the previous year.

“Creating jobs and economic opportunities for the community remains a focus for us,” said Marler.

Her team estimates that more than 4,000 people work at the port, including port employees, longshore workers, and employees of its shore and marine tenants.

Marler said a recent analysis showed that the port has delivered more than $40 billion of economic benefit to the region. The port spends more than $69 million annually on goods and services with local, regional and state businesses, she added.

The port oversees 800 acres of operating facilities. Its industrial space is 99 percent occupied by 50 tenants.

Cargo volumes

While the industrial tenants are a big component of the port’s business, marine cargo made up 53 percent of port revenue in 2022, according to the report.

“In 2022, we continued to ride the unprecedented wave of cargo volume that began in 2020,” Alex Strogen, the Port of Vancouver’s chief commercial officer, said in the video report. “Today, we’re seeing cargo volumes returning to typical levels.”

The port team imported 931,000 metric tons of cargo in 2022, a 15 percent increase over the year before.

A big piece of that was wind turbines.

“No one on the West Coast handles more wind energy than we do,” said Strogen.

The port estimated that the wind energy components handled in 2022 are enough to power 94,000 homes.

The port also handled the largest wind blade ever to enter the West Coast, at 78 meters (about 250 feet).

“We will see even larger blades come through the port this year,” said Strogen. Those blades are expected to be 84 meters.

It’s not just renewable energy pieces coming ashore at Vancouver.

The port’s report showed that more than 82,000 Subarus arrived there in 2022, nearly 10,000 more than in 2021. The port’s tenants also imported 320,000 metric tons of steel.

“Supply chain issues and the lack of shipping containers also brought new commodities to the port,” said Strogen, pointing to raw aluminum and sodium sulfide as recent commodities.

Exports

The port is a major exporter of cargo heading to Asia. The port’s report found 86 percent of the cargo exported in 2022 was going from a U.S. company to international markets.

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“The port also serves as an important export link for farm communities across the Midwest and mining towns in the Rocky Mountains,” said Strogen.

Of the 6.4 million metric tons of cargo exported in 2022, the vast majority — 5.5 million metric tons — was wheat, corn and soybeans.

Sixty percent of the nation’s wheat travels on the Columbia River, said Strogen. The Port of Vancouver handles 13 percent of that, he added.

The report identified 285,000 metric tons of copper concentrate exported last year, a decline from the 310,000 metric tons it moved in 2021. It also moved 136,000 metric tons of bentonite clay, which is used in cosmetics, and 405 metric tons of scrap metal.

The port’s Centennial Industrial Park gained a new tenant last year — NuTech Machining. And the industrial area welcomed Kelly Pipe, a major supplier of carbon steel pipe nationwide.

“As we move into 2023, we’re excited for the many opportunities in front of us,” said Marler.

In addition to its work on Terminal 1, the port is continuing to look for a tenant for Terminal 5, the far-west section of the port that is currently used to store wind blades that are awaiting transport to their final destinations.

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