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Imagine The Possibilities

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Gary A. White, Director, Business Retention & Expansion, TRIDEC

Because of its location, perched on the Northwest corner of the United States, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and growing economies of Asia, the Columbia Basin is the natural Strategic Gateway between Asia and America, blessed with an abundance of assets to grow domestic and international food and beverage processing businesses and support organizations. It is the perfect location for Asian food and beverage processing companies that want to serve the American market and for U.S. food and beverage processing companies that want to serve the growing, some might say booming, Asian markets, especially China.

World Class Transportation to World Class Destinations

Hardly a flight of fantasy, there are concrete reasons this kind of thinking makes absolute sense. The Columbia Basin is served by world class ocean and air transportation serving the Asian markets more efficiently than any other region in the United States. The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma provide the fastest ocean transit times to Asia from America, for example to Tokyo, Japan (12 days), to Pusan, South Korea (13 days), to Shanghai, China (15 days) and to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (19 days). The Columbia Basin is adequately served by the Tri-Cities Airport (Pasco, Washington) featuring Delta, Alaska Air, United, and Allegiant with direct flights to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mesa (Arizona). Regarding that important Asia connection, the flight time between the Tri-Cities Airport and Sea-Tac Airport (Seattle) is approximately one hour. Once at Sea-Tac you can fly to Tokyo in 10 hours, to Seoul, South Korea in 11 hours, Shanghai in 12 hours and Ho Chi Minh City in 15 hours. The Columbia Basin offers mainline rail freight service by both Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railroads. Railex is a unique eco-friendly, full service, temperature controlled, national transportation and logistics company, providing price competitive multi-modal, refrigerated storage and distribution, repacking, inventory control, guaranteed capacity and forward distribution services. Railex provides direct five-day service from the Columbia Basin to Rotterdam, New York and Jacksonville, Florida, effectively serving the populous markets of the eastern and southeastern United States. The Columbia Basin is served by Interstate Highway 82, which links the Columbia Basin directly to transcontinental Interstate Highways I-84, I-90 and I-5, effectively serving the United States.

Cold Storage

The Columbia Basin is blessed with world class cold storage facilities to accommodate the food and beverage processing industry, including Columbia Colstor and Henningsen Cold Storage Company. Vintners Logistics provides a temperature controlled, licensed and bonded wine warehouse, certified food grade warehousing, a transportation fleet of refrigerated and dry vans and value added logistical services.

Lots of Smart People

The Columbia Basin is home to a number of organizations staffed with very smart people eager to get involved in the latest and greatest food and beverage development project. These organizations include: the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington State University Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College.

Trade Experts

The Columbia Basin is represented in Asia by Washington Department of Agriculture representatives in Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City. They also have an international trade representative in Kennewick. The Western United States Agricultural Trade Association located in Vancouver, Washington provides help to Columbia Basin companies in exploring, entering and expanding into the Asian marketplace. The Export Finance Assistance Center in Seattle provides free export finance advice and counseling assistance to small and medium sized exporters in the Columbia Basin.

Property at Competitive Rates

The Columbia Basin is blessed with three ports that are eager to accommodate food and beverage processing companies with a variety of real estate options: the Port of Benton, the Port of Kennewick and the Port of Pasco. Badger Mountain South, a master planned community in Richland, features the 60 acre Veneto Villagio, an Italian themed food and beverage processing park, focused on attracting food tourists to the region’s agricultural splendor. To learn more about the demographics and business climate of the Columbia Basin, please visit www.tridec.org.

Let’s Take A Moment to Dream

The vision for Fabreo Columbia Basin presents a number of opportunities, all very exciting and all within reach not withstanding that infamous “fickle finger of fate”, including: Recruiting Asian food and beverage processing companies to locate in the Columbia Basin and assisting in marketing their products throughout North America; Assisting American companies, that are located in the Columbia Basin, to export to Asia and assisting in marketing their products throughout Asia; Establishing cooperative networks between Asian and American (located in the Columbia Basin) educational and research & development organizations; Development of the hospitality industry in the Columbia Basin (hotels, restaurants, spas and other real estate opportunities); Development of the in-bound Asian Food Tourism Industry in the Columbia Basin and Development of a food and beverage processing themed industrial park featuring food tourism. Dreaming is the easy part, implementation the more challenging part. Talk is easy. Do is tough. But, with the help of the visionary pioneers providing financial assistance, the many support organizations already on board and the food and beverage processing companies that have shared a portion of their very busy lives with me during the survey process, I am confident that we, as a community, are going to “git ‘er done”. To get excited, to be optimistic, to accomplish all one needs to do is Imagine the Possibilities.

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