Columbia River seaports, especially the Ports of Vancouver, Kalama, and Longview, play major roles in the movement of exported agricultural products, including being the largest grain export gateway for wheat and second largest soybean export gateway. In 2011, these three ports had 861 vessel calls and shipped 20.2 million metric tons of commodities between them. (Washington State Legislature Transportation Resource Manual)Eight million metric tons of that cargo moves in and out of the Port of Vancouver alone.
You can learn more about the Port of Vancouver by taking a free tour. I've taken it and it's fascinating. Julie Rawls led the tour and she was informative, knowledgeable, and entertaining. I not only recommend the tour highly, I would say it's worth doing a second time. The tour is an hour and a half long and very much worth your time.
Tours dates start in April and run through August. Reservations are required. For more information, see the Port Tours page on the Port of Vancouver USA website. Dates and times can also be found on the WUV calendar.
I don't think you'll regret your investment in getting to know VanWA.