Container Carrier Hapag Lloyd Quits the Port of Portland
Hapag Lloyd, the German-flag ocean carrier, is terminating all container service through the Port of Portland with the company no longer scheduling direct ship calls at Terminal 6, the port’s only deep-water container facility.
The steamship line not only provided the only direct container service linking international shippers in the Portland area with markets and suppliers in Europe, it also served as the primary carrier of the agricultural exports such as lentils, peas and potatoes barged to Portland from the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, via the Columbia-Snake River Channel.
The only option now for the international shippers and logistics managers impacted by the decision will be to move both export and import containers from Seattle or Tacoma by truck or rail. The only container carrier now serving the port is Westwood Shipping, which offers a monthly westbound service linking Portland with Japan and Korea.
The move is the second major blow to the Columbia River port in less than a month. In February, Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Company announced that it would no longer offer direct service to the port. Hanjin had served the port with direct calls since 1993.
The two carriers generated virtually all of the containerized freight moving through the three-berth, 419-acre Terminal 6 container facility, Portland’s only deep-water container facility.
TERMINAL OPERATOR BLAMES LONGSHORE UNION FOR CONTAINER SHIPPING LINES’ DEPARTURE
“We’re reviewing all options and taking prompt action to generate new business,” says Elvis Ganda, CEO of ICTSI North America, which operates the Terminal 6 facility. “There is substantial market demand for exporting and importing goods to and from Asia and Europe through Terminal 6.”
As a result, he adds, “We’re taking calculated steps, in conjunction with the Port of Portland, toward seeking new carriers that can capitalize on the opportunities to serve this valuable market created by Hanjin’s and Hapag-Lloyd’s departure.”
Speaking with the media, Ganda says that the withdrawal of Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd was a direct result of the “work slowdowns at the terminal caused by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).”
“While ICTSI Oregon will continue efforts to attract new customers, no carrier will want to make a long-term commitment to the terminal so long as ILWU workers delay cargo and vessels as a strong-arm tactic to get what they want,” says Ganda.
”We hold the ILWU fully accountable for its actions; therefore, it is imperative that the ILWU leadership in San Francisco publicly commit that its efforts to interfere with productivity in Portland are over,” he says.
In response to Ganda’s charge, ILWU spokesman Jennifer Sergant says, “Portland is a small market and is overpriced given ICTSI’s propensity to practice monopolistic behavior and set its rates accordingly. Terminal 6 is just one of 11 export terminals in Portland. Longshoremen work at the other 10 terminals and enjoy positive relations with the terminal operators.”
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