With the capacity to carry 8,011 cars, the Morning Lisa is the largest auto carrier in the world, and its first stop in the United States is the Port of Portland. The vessel arrived at Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District on Sunday, and Port officials presented a plaque to the ship’s captain on Monday morning as it was being offloaded by longshore labor. The record setting ship was ordered by Eukor Car Carriers, one of the world’s largest carriers in the vehicle transportation industry. According to the company’s website, Eukor, “… directly operates above 90 modern pure car carriers and specialized pure car and truck carriers in global service, with a total combined lifting capacity of above 400,000 car equivalent units.” The Morning Lisa is currently docked at one of the Port’s three auto facilities. Portland receives Hyundai, Honda and Toyota vehicles, while across the river the Port of Vancouver handles Subarus. Portland’s volumes were down about nine percent in 2008, but the Port still handled over 400,000 cars. The Port’s all-time record was set in 2006 with 463,557. The Port of Portland is one of the largest volume auto import facilities in the US. As many as 80% of the vehicles received are loaded onto railcars and delivered to 26 states including destinations as far away as the east coast. It handles many of the vehicles popular with American consumers, including fuel-efficient and hybrid models. All of the companies importing cars through the Port also have manufacturing facilities here in the US as well. Each vehicle brings an estimated economic benefit of $318 to the region. The most recent economic impact study shows that the Port’s marine operations at its four terminals generated 11,724 jobs, nearly $871 million in personal income and close to $89 million in state and local taxes. Although Port officials expect volumes will slow in 2009, car companies in China and Japan with electric and plug-in hybrid models are currently looking at doing business in Portland, and the Port’s capabilities play a role in those kinds of decisions. The Port of Portland and the surrounding metropolitan area are ideally suited to accommodate electric vehicle imports, yielding potential opportunities for the future.