Meeting focuses on container shipping, Lewiston Tribune, Feb. 13, 2016

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Port of Lewiston official, several other interested parties will gather in Boardman, Ore.


A total of 54 shipping containers filled with dried peas and lentils left Lewiston by barge in December and January.

At least one Port of Lewiston official will attend a Friday meeting in Boardman, Ore., to discuss ways that number can grow. The cargo is being shipped on a stop-gap system established after container ships stopped calling at the Port of Portland in Oregon last spring. Barges go to the Port of Morrow at Boardman, where containers are placed on rail cars for the remainder of a trip to the Puget Sound. In western Washington, products are placed on oceangoing boats.

River transportation customers and representatives from the Port of Morrow, the Port of Portland, Tidewater Barge Line and Northwest Container Services will also be a part of the meeting, Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld said.

Tidewater is providing the river vessels and the containers. Northwest Container Service is in charge of the rail portion of the trip.

One of the issues that has emerged is quick turnaround times for filling containers, Doeringsfeld said. Port officials, for example, expect a line will form before 7 a.m. Monday, the earliest customers can get containers for the next departure.

Those containers will have to be back by midday Thursday to be on the boat when it leaves between 3 and 4 p.m. that same day. Customers had hoped when the new service was introduced they’d have two weeks, Doeringsfeld said.

In other business Friday:

– Port officials heard a progress report on the LC Ice Arena, which occupies a port-owned building. Volume at the skating rink has increased by 15 percent since 2014, with the public and hockey teams using the ice more, said Joleen Carper, president of the Lewis-Clark Amateur Hockey Association. The organization operates the rink.

Some of the hockey teams have mostly boys. Others are for adults and there are two all-female teams, one for girls 14 and younger and another for teenagers who are 15-19.

The increased use translates into significant economic benefits for the community, Carper said, with the number of tournaments annually reaching eight.

She said one of three hotels that back hockey in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley reported $15,000 in room sales that they attribute to hockey in January and February.

– Commissioners discussed the possibility of a second business incubator either at the former EKO Compost site or on a vacant lot across the street from the port office on the 1600 block of Sixth Avenue North. Port Commission President Mike Thomason suggested the port consider doing something other than just copying the existing business incubator. Another Idaho town has an incubator campus where tenants have similar, but separate, buildings with their logos attached. The buildings are designed so new sections can be added if businesses grow.

The discussion is in its initial phases. The port has a 7,500-square-foot space available in its 12,000-square-foot incubator. That vacancy happened after the departure of Printer’s Distillery from a space that housed Seekins Precision before it moved to a site near the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport. The port is also looking at a way to divide the 7,500-square-foot space with a wall and a large garage door so a tenant could start in part of the space and then expand if possible.

Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.