SOWING SEEDS

Kim Puzey, general manager of the Port of Umatilla, visited Yantian International Container Terminal with the head of End User Marketing Alan Au Yu Pong during Puzey's 17-day economic development trip to China in December. Puzey is hoping to bring more Asian business to the Port of Umatilla.

By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski

Staff writer

UMATILLA — Sowing seeds is how the Port of Umatilla's Kim Puzey describes his December trip to China.

Puzey spent 17 days traveling around some of China's largest ports, working on drumming up business for the Port of Umatilla's new crane.

"The crane is underwhelmed," Puzey said.

The Port of Umatilla would like at least one percent of Wal-Mart's Asian/Chinese business, Puzey says. Most ships come to Long Beach, Calif., from Asia. Puzey is trying to bring more business to the Port of Umatilla, which is why he made the trip to China.

One of the more promising ports he visited was at Yichang, with a population of four million people. Yichang is where the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River are divided. Due to its advantageous geographic location, Yichang has been defined as a distributing center, an important trading port and a transportation hub along the Yangtze river linking west Hubei and east Sichuan.

"They do about 4,000 containers a year," Puzey said. "That is about where the Port of Umatilla has been."

Puzey found that the Port of Yichang wants scrap steel. He is hoping to bring about an agreement with the Port of Umatilla and Yichang to bring more scrap to China.

"We need to increase the amount of scrap steel that comes out of here," Puzey said. "There is an export opportunity to China. We need to work on imports as well."

Another port he visited was Yantian.

The Port of Yantian makes 16,000 moves a day, which makes it the largest deep water container terminals in the world. It has 25 lane gates which allows the 16,000 container moves.

Puzey says the containers in the yard are stacked eight high when empty and five high when loaded. There are 200 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras which provide real time video surveillance to the entire container yard.

One of stops Puzey made was the Port of Hong Kong, one of the world's busiest container ports. He says the Port moves 10,000 containers a day.

In a diary of his trip, Puzey wrote that the Port of Hong Kong "has always been a key factor in the development and prosperity of the Special Administrative Region, which is strategically located on the Far East trade routes and is in the geographical center of the now fast-developing Asia-Pacific Basin."

It may be awhile before Puzey's trip bears fruit; however, he feels it was worthwhile.

"I went to look for customers," Puzey said. "Out of 1.3 billion people, I was looking for one person to do business with."

If he found that one person to do business with, Puzey said the trip will have been a success.

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