Westwood to Provide Valuable Link
Port of Portland officials say that Westwood Shipping Lines' new service to the Columbia River port will reach a market that was lost when "K" Line announced it was discontinuing its direct service between Portland and Japan early last year.
"It is a very strong fit for a market that lacks capacity out of Portland," said Sam Ruda, director of marine and industrial development.
Westwood will begin monthly service to Portland on July 11 with space for more than 200 containers per voyage. The service will carry non-refrigerated containerized agricultural products, such as hay, as well as paper products and other commodities, to ports in Japan and South Korea.
The service will provide a valuable link to exporters in the Columbia River Valley, upriver and inland locations. Those exporters have been trucking their products to Puget Sound ports since "K" Line pulled its Japan service out of Portland in April 2009.
"Once successfully established, the service could quickly increase in both volumes and frequency of vessel calls," Westwood officials said.
Ruda says the service also will provide potential for inbound cargoes.
Westwood's announcement came on the same day that Portland commissioners approved a 25-year lease between the port and ICTSI Oregon for operation of a 192-acre container and breakbulk facility at Terminal 6.
The port has operated the multi-use terminal since 1974. In late 2007, port officials began a competitive process to secure a long-term concession for the terminal, hoping to find a company that would be interested in a 50-year or longer commitment and in making an investment in the terminal.
Although the port identified 10 parties that were initially interested in the concession, plans for such a long-term arrangement were scrapped in 2008 when market conditions changed.
Ruda said that the port became familiar with ICTSI during the process, and was pleased when the company approached port officials about a 25-year lease. Because Terminal 6 has no major infrastructure needs and already has an underutilized on-dock intermodal yard, Ruda says the 25-year lease agreement is an attractive alternative to a longer concession.
Elvis Ganda, the former president of California United Terminals in Long Beach,will head up the new Portland operation as CEO and Executive Vice President of ICTSI Oregon Inc. Ganda also served as the deputy port director, maritime at the Massachusetts Port Authority and as director of terminal operation services for APL.
ICTSI Oregon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc., based in the Philippines, which operates 18 terminals in 13 countries. The Terminal 6 facility will be the company's first terminal operation in the United States.
Ruda said that many members of the Portland Philippine business community attended the May 12 commission meeting to express their support for the lease agreement.
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