Ports of Seattle & Tacoma Work On Ship Backlog

Feb 25, 2015

The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are working through the backlog caused by a months longshore work slowdown. Late last week shipping companies and port workers reached an agreement to end their labor dispute. That agreement still needs to be ratified, but both ports say they are working at full speed.

Seattle and Tacoma say the first port worker crews started work on Saturday. The ports are now working to clear the effects of the slowdown that turned the west coast of the United States into a great Pacific shipping campground.


Hundreds of people turned out Wednesday for a hearing on a controversial propane export terminal proposed at the Port of Portland.

The Canadian company Pembina plans to transport more than a million gallons of liquid propane by train each day to a terminal on the Columbia River. The fuel would be stored in tanks and piped onto export ships bound for Asia. But the company needs approval from the city of Portland to run a pipeline across an environmental zone.

A popular gift now for Chinese New Year is a box of red apples from Washington. But Northwest shippers say a labor dispute at West Coast ports is jeopardizing that lucrative overseas market.


Washington-based timber company Weyerhaeuser says it will layoff workers at its Longview mill. 

The company plans to temporarily shut down and layoff workers at its liquid packaging facility, one of four operations at Weyerhaeuser’s Longview site.

The company didn’t specify how many workers will be affect, but more than 500 work at the facility.

Anthony Chavez is a spokesman for the company. He says the West coast labor dispute is affecting the company’s ability to ship its paper products.

Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Some of the world’s largest Christmas tree farms are right here in the Northwest. Some are harvesting about 20,000 trees a day. The average Christmas tree might be a bit more expensive this year.

Here's why.

A stronger economy and several years of cutbacks on plantings in the Northwest have upped prices this year. Like a few dollars per tree for the farmer.

Bryan Ostlund heads the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association in Salem, Oregon.

'They're All Perishable': Idaho Farm Products Languish At Ports

Dec 22, 2014

Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports.

Clyde Robinson / Flickr

Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends. They're better among many still trying to sort out what President Obama's announcement Wednesday of changes in Cuba policy mean for them.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

A slow down at Western ports is now aggravating farmers across the Northwest. Produce processors are laying off production line workers. Apples are backing up. And the summer’s premium hay is stacked in sheds not moving.

Several Northwest Christmas tree growers are trying to push containers full of evergreens through the Northwest’s delayed seaports.

SGL Group

A slowdown at West Coast ports has started to stifle the flow of goods in and out of the Northwest. Apple, hay, and potato farmers said they’ve been having a hard time getting their harvest to foreign buyers because of port congestion. And the delays are now hitting luxury car parts.

A facility in Moses Lake, Washington, that makes carbon fiber elements for BMWs had to shut down production for three days this week.

The German company that owns the facility said the problem was at the Port of Tacoma.

jkbrooks85 / Flickr

A slowdown in operations at ports up and down the West Coast is choking off the flow of apples, Christmas trees, potatoes and other Northwest products to foreign markets. Exporters say the delays could have long-term consequences for Northwest agriculture if the problems aren’t resolved before the holidays.

In Washington, fruit shippers have reported sending refrigerated trucks full of apples from this year’s historic crop to the port of Seattle, only to have them sit there for days.

Ports of Seattle and Tacoma Form Alliance

Oct 8, 2014
Washington State Dept of Transportation / flickr

  The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are ending decades of rivalry. At a news conference Tuesday commissioners of the ports announced they will form an alliance. The ports are joining so they can fight new competitors together. Tacoma and Seattle squabbled for decades. But new pressures are now bringing them together.

2013: A Good Year For West Coast Log And Lumber Exports

Feb 24, 2014
Sean Mack / Wikimedia Commons

Lumber and log exports from the West Coast rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.

Most of the West Coast logs shipped overseas are going to China, although Japan has upped its demand, as well. With limited forestlands of their own, these countries rely on the United States’ timber supply.


The Port of Newport on the Oregon coast is planning to develop a log export terminal. That’s led to a conflict with the port’s new neighbors.

Vancouver Oil Terminal Lease Would Allow Exports

Jul 30, 2013

The Port of Vancouver has released copies of the lease agreement Port commissioners approved last week for a controversial oil terminal. EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita reports the lease does not restrict terminal developers from exporting oil overseas.

Environmental groups have gone to court again to stop the export of liquefied natural gas from the Port of Coos Bay.

Coos Waterkeeper, the Sierra Club and other groups filed a petition with Oregon’s Court of Appeals Tuesday. They’re asking the court to reverse a judge’s decision last month to allow the port to dredge a waterway deep enough for large vessels that could haul LNG and bulk commodities like coal.

The number of coal export terminals proposed for Oregon and Washington has dropped from six to three. But a dozen Northwest groups aren’t backing down from their call for a regional impact study of the coal projects.

The groups filed a legal petition Wednesday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They want the corps to study the environmental impacts of transporting coal by train and barge from mines in Montana and Wyoming to shipping terminals.

Audio Pending...

Okko Pyykkö / Wikimedia Commons

An Oregon state representative has introduced a bill to try to curb the export of raw logs. A House committee held its first hearing on the bill today.

There are several new developments Wednesday in a long-running labor dispute between unionized longshoremen and Northwest grain terminal operators. One grain exporter announced it reached a contract agreement, while another locked out its union workers after discovering what it called sabotage.

Picket lines sprung up almost immediately in front of the United Grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Washington. This, after the terminal operator notified the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 of a lock out.

Ron Wyden's website

Should the U.S. export its abundant supply of shale gas? Oregon Senator Ron Wyden tackled that question in a hearing today. It’s his first since he took over chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The Northwest is on the verge of becoming a gateway for crude oil. Three different developers have plans to use docks on Grays Harbor, Washington to transfer crude oil from trains to ships. Other projects are getting off the ground in Tacoma, Vancouver, BC and on the lower Columbia River. There was a huge turnout Wednesday night at an introductory public workshop in Aberdeen, Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports the response indicates crude-by-rail may be the region’s next big environmental controversy.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest winemakers are trying to whet-the-whistle of China's emerging middle class. Demand for wine is growing significantly there. And that’s drawn Chinese business delegations, restaurateurs and tourists to our region. There even may be a reality TV show that would feature Northwest wineries. Correspondent Anna King begins our story in Walla Walla, Washington.

Coal Export Opponents Dominate Vancouver Hearing

Dec 13, 2012

About 700 people gathered in Vancouver, Washington, Wednesday to comment on a coal export terminal that could be built near Bellingham.

Where Coal Divides, Community Remains

Dec 12, 2012
Photo by Ashley Ahearn

The largest coal export facility on the West coast is proposed to be built near Bellingham, WA. Some people see it as an opportunity to create jobs. Others worry about the potential environmental impacts of dusty coal trains and climate change. It’s an issue that’s dividing communities around the Northwest.

EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn went to Bellingham, Washington to visit one community at the center of the coal export debate.

Hundreds of people attended Tuesday's public hearing in Spokane about a proposed coal export terminal in the Northwest. The meeting brought out strong emotions, and raised a moral question about how the hearings are run. Paige Browning reports the event focused on the proposed Gateway Terminal for Whatcom County, which would ship coal to Asia.

The Department of Energy released a study today/ Wednesday that finds exporting natural gas would benefit the U.S. economy. That may clear the way for the feds to grant licenses to 15 proposed export terminals, including two in Oregon. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

The environmental review process for the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast is underway. Public meetings are being held around the state to get feedback from citizens. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn was at the most recent hearing in Ferndale, Washington, which took place Thursday night.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Natural gas production in North America has increased so dramatically that no fewer than 17 companies have now applied to export the fuel overseas. Two gas export terminals are proposed in the Northwest - one near Coos Bay, Oregon, and the other at the Port of Astoria. This week, federal energy regulators are getting an earful of public testimony. Correspondent Tom Banse reports on the possible effects all this could have on the price you pay for natural gas.

The prospect of coal exports has stirred controversy in the Northwest this year. But near Astoria last night, it was natural gas exports that drew a capacity crowd. Correspondent Tom Banse reports what happened when federal regulators invited comment on a proposed natural gas export terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River.

S. Korea Lifts Ban On NW “Chipping” Potatoes

Oct 10, 2012

South Korea has lifted a two month old ban on Northwest potato exports - at least the ones used for potato chips. The move comes after growers agreed to take steps to insure they don’t ship potatoes infected with zebra chip disease.