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MISSION, PURPOSE & HISTORY
The Columbia River Steamship Operators’ Association, Inc. (CRSOA), established in 1922 as the Portland Steamship Operators’ Association, includes members representing ship owners, operators, agents, towing, and bunkering, as well as facilities and ports along the Columbia/Willamette/Snake River and Oregon Coast River Systems.
The Columbia River trade corridor is the lifeblood of our regional economy, supporting 46 million tons of foreign trade at a value of over $20 billion annually. The Columbia River export gateway is the nation’s top wheat export gateway and the second for soybean exports. It is the third largest grain export gateway in the world, as well as the West Coast’s leader in dry bulks, mineral bulk, and wood exports and second for auto imports and exports.
CRSOA’s purpose is to make the ports in the Columbia River region increasingly popular for commercial ships and shippers to come and do business. This is accomplished by working closely with Federal, state, and city governments, Federal and state legislators, ports, pilots, and shippers, with agricultural and industrial organizations, and with trade associations, unions, and others to ensure that quality services are provided at competitive prices in a safe, secure, reliable, and efficient manner.
The Columbia River Steamship Operators' Association’s mission is to facilitate trade, provide business leadership, exercise principles of environmental stewardship, serve as an industry focal point, and promote operating policies and practices that are safe, reliable, efficient, and cost-effective.
CRSOA was established in 1922. Its area of influence includes the ports and waterways serving Oregon, southern Washington, and Idaho. It was originally named the Portland Steamship Operators' Association and continued as such until 1994 when the name was changed to reflect a broader venue. Its area of influence includes all the major ports and waterways in the state of Oregon, Southern Washington and Idaho. The Columbia River is the predominant waterway in the region served by the Association.
CRSOA was a major force behind the “Inland Empire” vision for linking Columbia River ports to the international trading community in the 1930’s. It supported construction of the locks and dams that made possible navigation eastward over more than 500 miles of river to Lewiston, Idaho and enabled the important interdependency objectives of hydropower, flood control, and “the greening of the desert” to be made real. It was one of the founders of the Maritime Fire and Safety Association in 1984 and played a major role in expanding MFSA to include oil and hazardous material spill prevention, response, and mitigation in the early 1990’s.
CRSOA played a major role in keeping the Columbia River open during the “1996 Flood of the Century,” and played an even more important role in keeping the Columbia-Snake River System competitive during the extreme low water conditions that prevailed during the August-September time frames in 2000 and 2001. CRSOA also led the industry in the Columbia River Region’s response to the 9-11 “Attack on America” and established the Regional Maritime Security Coalition to bring Federal aid to the region for meeting national security mandates and to keep the region competitive in the post-9-11 international trading environment.