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American Shipper

Record wind turbine imports boost Vancouver USA port volumes

Record wind turbine imports boost Vancouver USA port volumes

A booming trade in wind turbines is helping to offset sagging cargo container numbers and boost total cargo tonnage at the Port of Vancouver in Washington state, turning green energy into green money.

   The Pacific Northwest port is on track to handle nearly 20 percent more cargo this year by weight, with a good deal of the increase attributable to a record number of wind turbine imports.

   'It has significantly increased our tonnage,' Port of Vancouver Executive Director Larry Paulson told the Portland Business Journal.

   Through the end of August, about 305 wind turbines and another 120 towers had moved through the port's facilities, more than double the count for all of 2006. Cargo tonnage at the port has also shown a huge increase, up more than 46 percent since 2005. The port is on a record setting pace this year, with current numbers suggesting that the port will finish with 5.5 million tons of moved cargo by year's end.

   The port is a major entry point for wind turbines on the West Coast and the surge in imports of the massive devices, some hundreds of feet tall, is helping Vancouver head toward a good year-end finish, while other Pacific Northwest ports face a mediocre year. Following nearly a decade of continual growth, the Port of Oakland is on track to record a 1 percent decline in container volumes this year, and so far this year traffic is down 5.4 percent at the Port of Tacoma and down nearly 1 percent at Seattle's port.

   'With the laws that have been put into effect that require alternative energy sources ' the potential growth for wind energy in the Northwest is significant,' Paulson told the business journal. 'We think it will continue for some time.'