Page 26: of Marine News Magazine (March 2014)

Fleet & Vessel Optimization

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L ewiston, Idaho, is perhaps best known to tourists as the turnaround for a Columbia River cruise or the jumping-off point for a trip to Hell’s Canyon,

North America’s deepest gorge. For anyone transporting cargo, however, it’s known as the port farthest inland of any on the West Coast – a whopping 465 miles inland from the mouth of the Columbia River. Located close to the border between Washington and Oregon, Lewiston,

Idaho’s only port, advertises itself as “strategically located” at the far Eastern end of the extensive Columbia/Snake

River system. Even then, they may be selling themselves a little short.

America’s Marine Highway, West Coast Style

Ocean-going traffi c can range 145 miles up to the

Bonneville Lock, 40 miles East of Portland, Oregon. From there, a 14-foot channel goes to Lewiston, elevation about 700 feet. A typical barge on the system is 42’ wide and 274’ long. Usually, towboats handle as many as four in a given trip, and containers are a frequent cargo for these journeys.

Barging also works well for transporting bulk commodities like wheat, and the river system is a prime transportation artery for agricultural commodities. The Pacifi c Northwest ranks fi rst in the United States for wheat and barley ex- port. Beyond this, the Columbia/Snake River system leads the West Coast for wood exports and is fi rst on the West

Coast for mineral bulks and second on the West Coast for automobile imports. “We are an export heavy system, and play an important role in balancing the nation’s trade defi cit,” said Kristin

Miera, Executive Director of the Pacifi c Northwest Wa- terways Association (PNWWA). The system is well estab- lished and the overall amount of cargo transported has re- mained stable over the past ten years, said Miera. Annually,


Real Marine Highways for Real Intermodal Solutions

The Columbia/Snake River System defi nes shortsea shipping, and promises much, much more.

By Sarah McCoy

March 2014 26 MN

MN MAR14 Layout 18-31.indd 26 2/21/2014 3:22:49 PM

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.