ITD, Department of Commerce staffs tour Idaho's port
When most people think of the Port of Lewiston, images of grain-laden barges and tug-boats come to mind. But with a downturn in shipping, the port is working with businesses that aren’t normally associated with a waterfront.
During a recent tour of the port by staff with ITD and the Department of Commerce, the port’s general manager discussed strategies to increase revenue.
One of those is a business incubator on property owned by the port along the Snake River waterfront.
“What we do is provide low-cost lease space for them to be able to start their businesses,” said David Doeringsfeld, the port’s general manager. “The product can be anything. We have a winery. We have a guy who manufactures a part for AR-15s.”
The port screens applicants seeking to use the business incubator. To lease space, companies need to be ready to begin production. The port also evaluates how many jobs the new business will create and the potential for continued job growth.
“The incubator’s mission is to create jobs,” he said. “I think that if you talk to the ports (administrators), what they’re concentrating on is job creation.”
The business incubator might help the port compensate for a drop in container shipments.
“We’re at our lowest volume of container shipments through the port since 1978,” he said. “That can be attributed to a lack of steam ship service out of Portland and the world economy.”
The port, established by Nez Perce County voters in 1958, is the most inland seaport on the West Coast, located approximately 470 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Photo: Sonna Lynn Fernandez, left, an ITD planning manager, David Doeringsfeld, middle,
the general manager for the Port of Lewiston, and Lane Packwood, right, an Idaho Department of Commerce administrator,
tour the port on April 28.