Port of Portland Sees First
by Michael White
Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd Pulled Out Earlier This Year
The ship Westwood Rainier recently called at the Port of Portland -- the first vessel to call at the Port of Portland in more than three months.
The 32,551-ton, general cargo/containership berthed at the Columbia River port's Terminal 6 (T-6) container facility with its arrival marking "the first vessel call at T-6 since early April," said Elvis Ganda, CEO of ICTSI Oregon, the private company that operates the container terminal.
"We are partnering diligently with the Port of Portland to confirm all equipment is ready to work in a safe and efficient manner," he said prior to the ship's arrival.
Westwood Shipping, based in Puyallup, Washington, had in recent years accounted for the smallest volume of containers moving through the port's one-and-only container facility.
In February, the port lost more than 95 percent of its container business when Hanjin Shipping discontinued calling at the port.
The shipping company had complained that a nearly three-year long, local labor dispute between the International Longeshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and ICTSI Oregon Inc. was causing undue delays in loading and unloading its ships -- a charge the union has repeatedly denied.
The South Korean-based mega carrier had accounted for about 80 percent of the port's total cargo volume.
Germany-based Hapag-Lloyd followed suit with its last call at Portland in April. The carrier provided regional shippers with their only direct-water link to Europe.
The decision by both carriers to cease calling at the port has seriously impacted the flow of containerized cargo moving in and out of Oregon's only box port, particularly agricultural goods shipped out of the Snake River port of Lewiston, Idaho and barged down the Columbia to Portland for export to international markets.
Since then, Oregon shippers have been forced to reforge their supply chains by moving their goods by either truck or rail the 170 miles to and from the Puget Sound region for handling through the ports of Seattle or Tacoma.
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