Washington State is building many maritime links to Asia, but providing a gateway for freshly minted automobiles is one of the largest. And, the automobile driving through that gateway at the Port of Vancouver has been Subaru.
The Port of Vancouver, WA, claims to be the largest importer of the Japanese-built Subarus on the West Coast. The port provides the auto manufacturer with a 1,140-foot Auto dock and a berth depth of 40 ft. The first stage auto processing is provided by the Auto Warehousing Company, and Mike Schiller, Business Development Manager for the port told AJOT the port is actively looking for additional auto manufacturers interested in importing or exporting vehicles through the port. Last year the port experienced a 50.5% increase in the number of Subaru imports compared to 2012.
“We’ve had a long standing relationship with Subaru of America as their West Coast import port since the early 90’s,” Schiller said. “That business has grown over time to where last year they imported 69,378 vehicles … this year through our facility they’re looking at a target of about 80,000 vehicles.”
He said the port has three or four auto carriers a month visit the port.
Schiller said the port has made a number of trips and maintained business relationships to make sure automobile manufacturers within the U.S. and overseas know of the opportunities the Port of Vancouver offers, including projects that integrate the available land with the expanded rail access and knowledge as to handle Ro-Ro and breakbulk cargo.
In addition to Subaru the port loads Western Star truck tractors destined for Australia, however they are not roll-on traffic but are lifted onboard using a crane. Last year the port handled 857 of these units.
“One of the aspects we do have here is we do have room to grow,” Schiller said. “We have room to grow at Terminal 5, which is a little bit down river from where Subaru currently operates. The other large parcel we have is our Columbia Gateway a little further down river with 535 acres.