A new study acknowledged that Portland’s geography as a river port and marine industry consolidation pose challenges to the recovery of weekly transpacific container service.
A consulting firm that spent the past several months studying what a sustainable business model for container shipping at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 would be has concluded that the most viable business model is a multi-use terminal that dedicates revenues from other terminal activities to support container service.
Results of the study, which were publicly revealed Wednesday, acknowledged that Portland’s geography as a river port and marine industry consolidation pose challenges to the recovery of weekly transpacific container service.
“Having enough container volumes to sustain a weekly transpacific service will be key to success,” the port declared in a prepared statement. “We’re focused on giving shippers a variety of choices to move their cargo. Direct container service is only one option – others include a new BNSF rail shuttle to Seattle/Tacoma ports, barging and air cargo.”
Swire Shipping begins calling Terminal 6 this month. Terminal 6 had been without container service since May 2016.
The study also found that elements for success include: maintaining competitive terminal rates, keeping labor productivity levels at or above West Coast standards, reducing costs and securing container volume support from the shipping community.
As a part of the study, the port convened an industry leader committee comprised of 23 members with diverse representation – including exporters, importers, service providers, carriers, ports, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and legislators with strong shipper interests – for industry knowledge and guidance.
Shippers agree that Terminal 6 is the region’s link to world markets and their continued support is needed to attract carriers, the port said. Terminal 6 has been without an operator since ICTSI Oregon reached an agreement to terminate its 25-year lease with the port in February 2016, following difficulties that it had been having with union labor.