A new study, the first in a four-part series by the Washington Research Council (WRC), reveals the integral role rail transportation plays in the development of the state’s trade and export industry. With the dynamics of international trade shifting and global competition increasing, the WRC studied the different components of trade and export industry to understand the economic necessity to expand export opportunities.

This research is also important to our state, because Oregon is just as trade-reliant as Washington. Between our two states, nearly one in four jobs are dependent upon the trade and export industry. By ensuring the longevity of this industry, we’re setting the foundation for our economic future.

Oregon’s international competition is increasing due to the growing international demand for products. A perfect example of this competition can be found just north in Canada. The British Columbia export facilities, which have grown, in large part, due to the international demand, are looking to expand quickly to get ahead of international competition. Something the Pacific Northwest should be working towards, as well.

WRC president, Richard Davis, understands that our region’s export industry is at a critical point. According to the Davis, “The decisions we will make on these two port projects, on trains and rail investment, could very well determine whether we maintain our advantaged transportation position.” The study shows private investments will aid the smaller components of the trade and export industry, like rail infrastructure, helping our region remain a global leader. As I have written about many times on this blog, it also helps other smaller trade dependent industries, like agriculture and more specifically, my farm.

Research like this highlights what we already know –we need to expand trade and export industry through private investments. Ultimately, the decisions we make now in Oregon and Washington will affect this industry and many others, for years to come.