Port Officials Hear Results of Consultant’s Economic Impact Analysis

By Erik Olson, June 11, 2013, Longview Daily News

One out of every 10 jobs in Cowlitz County is related to the Port of Longview, which injects $1.7 billion annually into the local economy, a consultant told port officials Tuesday.

And, while the port generates $1.6 million annually in property taxes paid to Cowlitz County, it also supports $444 million of business activity in the local economy and supplies $5.2 million in tax receipts for local governments, consultant John Martin said.

“You get a really good leverage return for your community,” Martin said.

Port of Longview officials hired the Pennsylvania-based Martin to conduct the port’s first economic impact analysis in more than 15 years. The study is part of the port’s ongoing effort to develop a long-term strategic plan to develop unused port property and to attract new tenants to the vacant 275-acre Barlow Point property.

Port officials said they will use the information for the study to seek grants for new infrastructure, such as rail lines, and to analyze future needs.

“Now that we know the dynamics of the model, we’re going to come up with different scenarios,” Port CEO Geir Kalhagen said.

Martin interviewed 182 people directly involved with port operations, including tenants, terminal operators, railroad officials and trucking firms. Martin Associates conducted the most recent analysis of the Port of Longview and has done similar work for other Washington ports.

Martin’s contract with the port was not to exceed $68,710.

The majority of the port’s economic value, about $1.4 billion, comes from fees for shipping cargo, such as grain, calcined coke, logs and wind-energy parts. The remaining $315.9 million comes from direct revenues from port tenants, such as Skyline Steel and Braun Strauss, according to Martin.

Among other findings:

• The port supports 3,020 direct and indirect jobs within the region. An additional 9,100 jobs are supported in the shipping industry, which are mostly outside the area.

• Workers at the port, including port administrators, maintenance workers, longshore workers and workers at the port’s tenant businesses, collect $52.5 million in annual income. That’s an average salary of $64,209, which is toward the high end for the region, Martin said.

• Nearly half of all workers on port property, 280, live in Cowlitz County. The next biggest area is Portland, where 192 workers live, or about one-third of the total.

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