The Port of Kalama exported more than 13 million tons of “bulk” cargo in 2018, earning the port a spot in the top three largest bulk exporters on the West Coast.
Port officials announced the title this month, citing the U.S. Census Bureau and USA Trade Online.
“Handling well over 13 million tons of bulk commodities, the Port of Kalama weighs in as one of the nation’s largest tonnage export facilities, shipping more bulk cargo than even its neighbors Portland, Longview and Seattle,” port officials wrote in an Aug. 16 news release.
Kalama ranked behind No. 1 Port of Long Beach (Calif.) and No. 2 Port of Los Angeles. It also finished as the 16th largest bulk exporter in the nation, according to the release.
Bulk cargo includes any unpackaged or loosely shipped items, such as grain, oats, salt and soda ash. Ports can also export “break bulk” cargoes, like steel, logs and other construction materials.
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The Port of Kalama has almost 30 businesses and industries supporting more than 1,000 employees, according to the news release. Grain exports account for a large portion of the port’s overall operations.
According to a news release, the port exported 13.4 million tons of bulk cargoes, and at least 13 million tons of that was grain.
“As an internationally-renowned marine terminal on the Columbia River and home to some of the most efficient grain export facilities on the West Coast, the Port of Kalama plays a key role in the nation’s robust export trade industry,” the release says.
The Port of Kalama leases land to two international grain terminals, TEMCO and Kalama Export Co. The port’s location along the Columbia Rivers makes it part of the world’s third largest grain export gateway. (Almost half of the world’s grain is exported from ports along the Columbia River.)
Kalama and other Columbia River ports may see a downturn in grain exports amidst the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. China stopped importing U.S. wheat before that trade war started, and local ports have reported dramatic decreases to other grain products, such as soybean. China also threatened to stop importing all U.S. agriculture products if President Donald Trump decided to impose additional tariffs in the coming months.