Starting July 11, a new international shipping service by Westwood Shipping Lines will connect regional exporters with direct access to ports in Japan.
The monthly service will have space for more than 200 containers per month. A six-month initial agreement with an option to extend for an additional year provides potential to quickly increase the frequency and capacity of the service.
“While this will start relatively small, the relevance to shippers in our region is great,” said Greg Borossay, senior manager of carrier development for the Port of Portland. “This is a key mission-driven service for the Port and the Columbia River basin, and there is solid potential for growth.”
Westwood’s Portland service will carry non-refrigerated containerized agricultural products including hay, as well as paper products and other commodities from valley, upriver and inland customers. Ports of call in Japan will include Shimizu, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya, as well as Busan, South Korea. Westwood provides service to more ports in Japan on a direct call basis than any other carrier.
Westwood offers unique flexibility in carrying varied cargo types, and, with the combination of containerized goods and heavy bulk cargoes, vessel draft can be an issue. Fortunately, the Columbia River channel deepening project is nearing completion, bringing the channel from 40 to 43 feet.
“Completion of the navigation channel improvements helped make this possible for us,” said Guy Stephenson, president of Westwood Shipping Lines. “We welcome this opportunity to expand our service and support our customer base.”
Not only does the new service answer an immediate need expressed by regional exporters, it supports President Obama’s national export initiative. The president’s executive order calls for doubling U.S. exports over the next five years.
Westwood Shipping Lines