Officials at the Port of Lewiston—Idaho's only seaport—announced Wednesday they have engineered a new plan to get export traffic moving again after almost 11 months of deadlock.
The port was crippled at the beginning of 2015 by a severe work slowdown at ports on the West Coast. In April, one of the port's largest overseas shippers—Hapag-Lloyd—pulled up anchor at the Port of Portland, thus halting its shipments up and down the Columbia River system. Following Hapag-Lloyd's decision, a headline in the April 8 edition of the Lewiston Tribune read: "Port Container Traffic On Hold Indefinitely." As a result, dried peas, lentils and other goods either needed to find another way of making their way to the coast of they were severely backed up at the port.
This morning's Tribune reports beginning the first week of December, peas and lentils will be brought in containers to the Port of Lewiston where they will barge to the Port of Morrow, Ore, then transferred to rail for the second leg of a journey up to the Puget Sound. That's where they'll again be transferred to ocean-going ships.
The new system will start small. The Tribune reports only 18 to 20 containers will make the trip every other week, compared to the 80 to 100 barges that previously left the Port of Lewiston four times a month.
"It's a stop-gap measure," Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld told the Tribune.