An assessment of the Portland Harbor’s economic impact


While the first section of this report looks at the macro level of international trade, this second report is focused on the economic impact and local benefits of all Portland Harbor activities. These activities include private terminals, manufacturing areas and public terminals owned by the Port and leased to private entities. Together harbor-related firms earned $1.5 billion in income and of those earnings, spent $1.47 billion with local businesses.

The harbor area is where all major cargo vessels come into the Port of Portland, taking goods in and out of the region to other cities around the globe. This data does not include other regional ports such as the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Kalama.

This study also confirms that the Port and Portland Harbor entities have been nimble in staying ahead of global trends in transportation and adapting to the changing trade market, important factors in the region’s long-term trading success. Portland’s intermodal connectivity – serving as a hub for goods moving from sea, to rail, to river, to road – gives Portland-metro a competitive advantage, but new investments are needed to stay competitive.



Number of Portland regional jobs supported by economic activity in the Portland Harbor in 2011.1

$1.5 billion.

Collective income of harbor-related businesses in 2011.

$1.47 billion.

Income earned by Portland-area businesses and workers as a result of spending by harborrelated businesses in 2011.2

$140 million.

Amount harbor activities generated in taxes to support state

1 Includes direct, indirect and induced jobs, as defined in the study. As of 2010, the Port of Vancouver supported about 4,000 such jobs, for a harbor-wide total of 22,000.

2 Includes direct, indirect and induced income, as defined in the study.

For example, Port investments designed to expand auto-import facilities and attract a major potash trader have paid off with new investments and jobs in the region. Portland is now the second largest auto import gateway on the West Coast and the largest potash exporter in the U.S.



Portland is the fifth largest auto import gateway in the nation. About 20 percent of Toyota vehicles imported through Portland stay in the Pacific Northwest. About 80 percent are loaded onto trains or trucks and delivered to 23 states in the West and Midwest. Each auto imported introduces $271 dollars in the Portland economy. Last year 284,138 autos were imported through Portland.

As the Port looks forward, it anticipates expanding facilities for auto exports. The first shipment of Fords manufactured in the U.S. and headed to South Korea left Portland in 2012; soon Fords will also be exported to China. More manufacturers are producing cars in the U.S. and with increased Asian demand, this may be a source for future growth.

1 The first study, Today More than Ever: Oregon and Portland/Vancouver Depend on International Trade and Investment, was completed in September 2013 by the Trade Partnership. The second, The Port of Portland’s Marine Operations, The Local Economic Benefits of Worldwide Trade, was completed in August 2013 by ECONorthwest. The third, Economic Linkages from Marine Industrial Businesses was completed in August 2013 by One Northwest Consulting.