On Monday, March 10, Hanjin Shipping announced that it would continue its weekly transpacific vessel call in Portland.
The announcement comes as welcome news to the hundreds of shippers who depend on the carrier and its alliance partners to get cargo to and from international markets in Asia. According to Hanjin’s notification to the Port, the company will be reviewing operational performance on a quarterly basis.
“Hanjin has been a valued customer of the Port for 20 years, and they have an important shipping franchise in this market.” said Sam Ruda, chief commercial officer for the Port of Portland. “We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the case remains for Hanjin and all carriers to keep cargo moving through Portland’s Terminal 6.”
In October 2013, Hanjin officials indicated to the Port and terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, Inc. that low productivity and escalating costs needed to be addressed at the container terminal in order for the company to remain in the local market. Even with the decision to stay, operational conditions and labor productivity will need to stabilize and improve for container services calling Terminal 6 to be successful.
Hanjin is the largest container carrier calling Portland’s Terminal 6. The service represents nearly 80 percent of container throughput at the terminal, averaging about 1,600 containers per week. Hanjin has shipping contracts with many of the area’s largest shippers, and also provides significant vessel capacity servicing Oregon and regional agricultural shippers. The Hanjin service supports an estimated 657 direct jobs and $33 million in personal wages annually.
“We appreciate the support, commitment and patience shown by local shippers, as well as Hanjin, to continue this important service in Portland amidst some rough waters,” said Ruda. “With this decision, we are hopeful that all parties involved will work together to continue improving the competitiveness and reputation of the container terminal.”
The Port has a 25-year lease with ICTSI Oregon, Inc. for operation of the container terminal, where Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd and Westwood Shipping also provide container service for imports and exports. Besides containers, business lines at the Port’s four marine terminals include autos, minerals, grain, steel, project cargo and liquid bulks.