Port of Vancouver continues to see lots of activity as 2023 kicks off

The Port is busy with several ongoing projects, including the development of Terminal 1, the Port’s Climate Action Plan and more

Courtesy of the Port of Vancouver USA

As the first month of the new year approaches its end, the Port of Vancouver USA is just gaining momentum for what seems to be a busy and productive 2023.

Terminal 1

At the top of the list of things going on at the Port is the continuation of the development of Terminal 1. Julianna Marler, CEO of the Port of Vancouver, said that a lot things happened in 2022 at Terminal 1, including the opening of the AC Hotel by Marriott, which is the first commercial project at Terminal 1. The Port also saw the completion of Vancouver Landing in 2022, which was the first finished public project at Terminal 1. According to the Port’s website, features of the Vancouver Landing project include dramatic riverfront vistas, a boardwalk timeline of historic events, new sections of the Renaissance Trail, Rotary Club of Vancouver elements, interpretive panels and an embedded map of the Columbia River.

“We worked closely with the hotel, we wanted to make sure people could really enjoy Vancouver Landing, it’s really the ‘backyard’ of the hotel,” Marler said. “We had a great partnership with the Rotary Club of Vancouver, it was nice to recognize Rotary and partner with them. We also worked closely with the local tribes and have a lot of history incorporated into the walkway.”

Also in 2022, the Port held the Terminal 1 groundbreaking for the Lincoln Property. According to the Port’s website, Lincoln Property Company signed a 50-year lease in 2021 for Blocks A and C in the Terminal 1 development. The buildings on those parcels will include commercial spaces and offices, including headquarters for Vancouver-based business ZoomInfo, which will move to the waterfront from downtown Vancouver in 2025.

“ZoomInfo is the largest commercial lease in the Portland Metro area in the last 20 years,” Marler said. “They’ve grown internationally and have looked in every part of the world (for their headquarters). It’s great to keep them in Vancouver.”

Continuing into 2023, Marler said the next steps for Terminal 1 include seeking funding to work on the new dock after the removal of the 100-plus-year-old dock that was under the old Red Lion Hotel and Quay Restaurant. Work on the new dock will include in-water work and the removal of approximately 800 weathered, wooden piles. Marler said it will cost about $34-$35 million to replace the dock, and once that is complete, they can start looking at getting the new public marketplace at Terminal 1 going.

“Ideally, in the next three-four years we would be able to replace the dock and shortly after we would look at getting the market going,” she said.

The Port’s maritime business

Courtesy of the Port of Vancouver USA

Something else that Marler said the Port continued to work on in 2022 and will continue to work on into the new year is making sure to diversify the commodities that they handle in their maritime business.

“We have always been very aware of and protected our maritime business,” she said. “It’s very market driven. Say you have a good like grain, for example, and we might have a bad year of crops. We continue to look at how we diversify the commodities we handle so that we can be financial stable. We’ve done a good job of making sure we anticipate that and with that we’ve been able to maintain financial stability with the working waterfront.”

Climate Action Plan

In 2021, the Port Commissioners first approved the Port’s Climate Action Plan. Marler said that 2022 was the first year to start implementing their goals reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Courtesy of the Port of Vancouver USA

“We had some things that were able to do immediately,” Marler said. “Subaru had their first electric vehicle, so we were able to secure some electric vehicles, electric vans for the maintenance team. We also worked with C-TRAN to expand service into the Port area, their on-demand service, The Current. We are continuing to work with them on how we can increase use and service.”

Marler said they have also been taking inventory of things that require natural gas or electricity, and they have been working on what the Port’s needs are, what their capacity is and they are working on things as they have replacements that come up and start planning for those ahead of time.

“Also, our environmental priorities,” Marler said. “We have land that we transferred for crane habitat, on the westside of the Gateway. We’ve been working on planting there to mitigate any sound as we look at developing the Gateway. We put in a pretty major effort in 2022 – 1,950 trees planted and 16,500 plants.”

Industrial

Concerning the industrial side of the Port, Marler said they continue to remain over 99% leased.

“If there is any window of folks who move to other locations, it’s quickly filled,” she said. “We saw a few tenants that renewed their leases, some tenants who expanded their operations … if we have any tenants that move into some challenging times, we can help them. We’re connected to businesses and resources, they can get supplies. We did vaccination clinics as well to make it accessible and easy to get for employees. Our tenant base held very strong and everyone was able to weather.”

2023

Courtesy of the Port of Vancouver USA

Going into the new year, Marler said the Port hopes to continue with the momentum down at Terminal 1. Also, the I-5 Bridge is something that the Port will continue to work with area groups on – the Port is on the executive steering group and Marler said they will continue to advocate for freight mobility and safety.

“We want to work on developing a bridge that will support the waterfront and support our community needs for the future,” Marler said. “We also want to continue to make momentum on Terminal 1. We have a lot of things in progress, so the goal is to continue to look for and track the market, make sure our maritime business is strong, and continue to work for partners and customers to grow with at the Port and keep a diversified mix of cargo.”

Marler said they also want to continue to build their internship programs this year, including a new program that was started with some internships for students who came from the Cal Maritime Academy and Texas A&M Maritime Academy. The Port was able to host a young man and young woman from those schools in Vancouver and Marler said they loved the area.

“A lot of these students don’t recognize the opportunities in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “We plan to work with our education partners to look for how we can continue to have exposure for students so that they understand the different opportunities for jobs of what’s at the Port and other companies we have here.”

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.

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