The nine-member Port of Portland Commission is the port authority responsible for setting policy. The commissioners are appointed by Oregon's Governor and approved by the state senate. The Port of Portland Commission is charged with improving the regional economy and quality of life by assuring efficient cargo and air passenger access to both national and international markets.
The 750-kilometer wide, 16.8 meter deep Columbia River navigation channel stretches for eight kilometers from the Columbia River bar. After reaching the bar, the channel is 183 meters wide and 12.2 meters deep for the remaining 161 kilometers to the Port of Portland harbor. The channel passes under two bridges, the lowest of which has vertical clearance of 60.4 meters.
The Port of Portland exports more wheat than any other port in the United States. It is also the biggest gateway on the country's West Coast for the import of automobiles. The Port of Portland is the 16th biggest container port in the US and the fourth biggest export port on the West Coast in terms of tonnage. The Port of Portland serves over one thousand businesses in Oregon and Washington.
The Port of Portland's terminal handling breakbulk, roll-on/roll-off, and project cargoes covers almost 20 hectares. The terminal that specializes in mineral bulk, liquid bulk, and automobiles covers over 113 hectares. The terminal handling grain and mineral bulk cargoes and providing warehouse and manufacturing services covers more than 64 hectares. The terminal specializing in containers and automobiles, which also houses the intermodal rail yard operations, covers over 156 hectares.
The major exports leaving the Port of Portland include wheat, potash, soda ash, and steel. The major imports arriving at the Port of Portland include cement and limestone, steel, automobiles, and oil. The major trading partners for the Port of Portland include Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Mexico.
The Port of Portland's Container Terminal covers almost 81 hectares, and it contains three berths served by ample cargo-handling equipment including seven gantry cranes. Terminal 6's deep-draft container berths are served by on-dock intermodal services, with immediate connections to rail routes and direct access to the interstate highway network. Seeking to improve its service for containerized cargoes, the Port of Portland is deepening the channel to receive larger vessels, extending the berths, adding new heavy-lift equipment, and expanding the rail infrastructure.
The terminals serving bulk and breakbulk cargoes at the Port of Portland have ample capacity to handle and store large volumes of cargo. Terminal 2 contains almost 28 thousand square meters of warehouse space in four buildings. Terminal 4 is a 113-hectare multi-purpose facility with seven berths designed to handle a wide range of cargoes including automobiles, steel, forest products, and liquid and dry bulk. Terminal 5 contains a rapid-handling grain elevator and a mineral bulk exporting facility that handles potash and other commodities.