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Christmas Trees Delayed At Northwest Ports


Several Northwest Christmas tree growers are trying to push containers full of evergreens through the Northwest’s delayed seaports.

The ports have a backup because of labor disputes between the dockworkers and shipping companies.

John Tillman, a large-scale tree grower out of Elma, Washington, said he had about nine containers bound for Hong Kong held up for about two weeks at the Port of Tacoma. Tillman said the evergreens are worth about $80,000 wholesale and are sort of like fresh flowers.

“They’re refrigerated and we do ice them,” he said. “But I don’t think we’ve ever had Christmas trees in a refrigerated container for over five weeks before. It’s just disappointing on so many levels.”

Tillman’s trees have recently hit the open water and should make it to Hong Kong before Christmas. Tree industry experts say trees stuck for too long could become expensive garbage nobody wants.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.