Port of Portland Loses its Only
by James Cronin
Moreover, Portland's loss has been Seattle and Tacoma's gain, as containerized cargo
that could be diverted from the Oregon port has remained with the Northwest Seaport Alliance.
The last company providing container shipping service from the Port of Portland will leave the market later this month.
Puyallup, Wash.-based Westwood Shipping's last call to Portland will be Saturday, further exacerbating the state of the marine container cargo service at the port's Terminal 6.
That news is especially daunting as the port's Executive Director Bill Wyatt recently told the Business Journal he doesn't expect any new container service providers at the port any time soon.
Westwood had been making just one call to the port each month. In a letter to customers, the shipping company said the low numbers did not justify continuing its Rose City service.
"While we are disappointed with this news, we also understand that underlying economics of the carrier industry are at play like over-capacity and exceptionally low rates," the Port of Portland said in a prepared statement. "We are hopeful that Westwood will return to (Terminal 6) when market dynamics improve. Our marketing team will continue to focus on recruitment of new carrier service and assist shippers with access to markets."
At the end of 2014, workers at T6 handled nearly 165,000 containers from ocean-going vessels -- a decline from 2003's peak of around 330,000, but consistent with its history of handling containers in the six figures.
But an ongoing labor dispute between longshore workers and ICTSI Oregon Inc., the private company contracted by the port in 2010 to manage T6, scared most of that container business away. At the end of 2015, workers at T6 had handled just 23,000 containers
First South Korean-based Hanjin Shipping -- which accounted for more than 70 percent of the terminal's containers in 2014 -- departed in February 2015. The terminal's second-biggest carrier, Germany-based Hapag-Lloyd, made its exit from Portland in April 2015.
By July 2015, Westwood, which had initially suspended service during the labor slowdown, resumed service as the only company taking containers from the Port of Portland. It only served the port monthly, but with each call took about 150 containers of hay, grass seed, dried fruits, other mixed agricultural goods and paperboard for export to Japan.
Shipping Authority Seeks to 'Adopt' Portland by Staff, Port Strategy, 5/12/16
Here's Why Portland Won't Get New Shipping Container Service Anytime Soon by James Cronin, Portland Business Journal, 5/9/16
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