Q&A: Matt Raasch, Pasha Auto general manager

Grays Harbor Pasha Automotive Services General Manager Matt Raasch is new to the Harbor, but he knows the auto shipping business inside and out. He’s lived in his historic Montesano home, built in 1903, for about seven months with his 15-year-old son. In his free time, he enjoys, golfing, fishing, poker “and the toughest hobby — raising a teenager.”

What’s a typical day like when a shipment comes in?

Most vehicles arrive by rail, some by truck and the GM’s arrive by vessel from Mexico. Our average day consists of off-loading hundreds of vehicles from inbound rail cars and then we run through a series of processing functions.

We have a crew that processes nothing but Enterprise returns out of Hawaii. This is a reconditioning, paint body repair process that we prep the units for resale and auction. There is a maintenance repair team that keeps the terminal operations running daily. We have a premier paint and body shop that can turn hundreds of vehicles per week.

What kinds of cars do you handle and where are they going?

We handle Chrysler vehicles, primarily Compass, Patriot, Wrangler, Grand Cherokees, 300’s, Town &Countries and Fiats.

These units are shipped to the Far East by vessel. A large portion goes to China, Korea and Japan. We also ship to smaller markets like, Indonesia, Philippines, Mongolia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore.

We have General Motors arriving from Mexico that bring in trucks and Cadillacs.

How many people do you have working there, and what kind of jobs do they do?

We average about 120-130 employees per day.

There are several aspects of the job. All are brought in as auto processors.

• Wash cars through the car wash

• Undercoat vehicles with rust protectant

• Fill tires with nitrogen

• Add parts required by different countries

• Apply paint protection film

• Quality Auditing

• Survey and scan to pre-load as an export.

What training do employees go through?

We are compiling a video training guide before even stepping foot on the terminal.

Currently the training is one-on-one and timed. By the time we release individuals to their detailed task for the day they have to be able to train the trainer to ensure full instructions are fully understood.

We track training on a skill and ability chart that lists several functions one could be placed in day to day.

This business does not accept imperfection. Each vehicle must ship and arrive to destination country factory fresh.

How often do ships come in, and what’s the process of loading them like?

Vessels are generally scheduled once per week.

This March, exports were over 13,000 vehicles. Once the units are processed by PAS (Pasha Automotive Services) with teamster labor, we place them in rows by country and model type for PST (Pasha Stevedoring Terminals) to load.

PST manages the longshoremen to load or off-load onto the vessel alongside. This is done by deck height and weight. The insides of the vessel can be described as a parking garage with adjustable decks (in some cases).

The longshoremen load each unit aboard the vessel and lash it down. The cars are loaded with no more than six inches separation for maximum stowage.Has the car wash facility built last year made the job easier?

Taking in the lean logistics aspects, yes. We are now able to use the folks that used to wash cars by hand and spraying elsewhere in the process to ramp up efficiencies.

What does growth look like for Pasha? Will you be needing more space at some point if you keep growing or will that just mean more vessel calls?

Volumes are anticipated to exceed 100,000 this year

We received our first Toyota units last week. These units will be processed and exported to Russia.

Daimler trucks will start arriving mid April.

Pasha is aggressively marketing. As volume increases, the vessel calls should naturally increase as well. During peak volumes the allocated space for vehicles runs very tight.

Pasha is currently strategizing with the Port of Grays Harbor to keep up with growth demands.


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