Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Port establishes its own tariff

Port district sets new rates for a variety of commodities, including coal and oil


The Port Commission for the Port of St. Helens voted Wednesday, Sept. 25, to establish a tariff for the port independent from that of the Port of Vancouver.

Since 2006, according to port staff, the Port of St. Helens followed the tariff schedule set out by the Port of Vancouver.

But Patrick Trapp, Port of St. Helens executive director, said before Wednesday’s commission meeting that the Columbia County port district wanted to set out its own tariff. by: FILE PHOTO - Trapp

“The Port of Vancouver does not have, or did not have, certain tariffs,” said Trapp. “They just started a crude [oil] one. They did not before, so we had to use petroleum. They don’t have coal. ... We don’t currently have coal, but we want to start publishing it if, in fact, it does come here.”

The 20.46-cent-per-metric ton wharfage rate for coal that is part of the new Port of St. Helens tariff will apply to Ambre Energy if it goes through with plans to barge coal to the Port Westward industrial park north of Clatskanie, Trapp confirmed.

But beyond the wharfage for specific commodities, Trapp said, the port’s motivation to have its own tariff is simple.

“We’re not the Port of Vancouver,” Trapp said.

Trapp said the Port of St. Helens’ new rates are somewhat higher than before due to cost-of-living adjustments. However, he said dockage fees, which go by vessel length, are “fairly equitable” relative to the Port of Vancouver’s tariff, which the port had been following.

Port commissioners unanimously approved a resolution establishing the tariff on a motion by Commissioner Terry Luttrell.

Port Commissioners Colleen DeShazer and Chris Iverson were not present for the vote.

The new tariff does not require approval from either the Port of Vancouver or the Federal Maritime Commission, according to Trapp.

However, Trapp and commission President Robert Keyser agreed, the port wants to follow federal guidelines anyway.

“We still went with the higher requirement in that all of that is still compatible,” said Trapp at the meeting. “So at some point, should we include a commodity that’s either regulated or a common carrier that’s regulated, we won’t have to rewrite the tariff.”