Working waterfront bringing more jobs to Portland

Portland’s working waterfront will rack up another big win for Portland’s economy this summer when Oregon Steel Mills (OSM) opens two new spiral-weld pipe mills here in July and August.

The plants will produce pipe used for natural gas, and oil pipelines. Most importantly, the plants will bring close to 150 new, living-wage jobs to Portland.

OSM already employs about 700 people in the Portland Metropolitan area. OSM’s existing steel rolling mill, which turns 30-ton slabs of steel into steel coil or plate used for making, among other things, Gunderson rail cars and armor plating for U.S. military vehicles, will feed their new pipe plants.

The key to these booming Portland businesses is OSM’s ability to efficiently and economically import steel slabs, which is where the Port’s Terminal 6 (T-6) comes into play. OSM and the Port approved a Terminal Use Agreement (TUA) today which will allow OSM to grow their steel slab import volumes from 800,000 tons annually to an expected one million tons in 2007. The TUA provides preferential use of one berth and 17 acres at T-6 for 10 years with a five-year extension option.

‘This terminal use agreement is a great example of how important industrial waterfront property is to Portland’s economy,’ said Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt. ‘When these plants open, Oregon Steel Mills will employ almost 850 people in living-wage jobs in Portland. These plants and jobs depend on low cost steel slab imports. They depend on a working waterfront.’

The recently signed TUA builds on OSM’s current agreement to use one berth and nine acres at T-6. OSM was also using a six-acre parcel on a temporary basis as high demand for steel plate and coil has pushed their import volumes up 13 percent over 2005 volumes. Through May, OSM has imported 327,000 tons of steel slab. Under the agreement, OSM will pay a land lease and additional crane rental and vessel dockage fees to the Port.