It was forty years ago today that Terminal 6 opened to the public for a formal dedication ceremony – and the “most modern container facility on the Pacific Coast” was officially open for business.
On the morning of October 31, 1974, plans called for Oregon Governor Tom McCall and Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt to drive a tractor through a blue ribbon held by Commission President Alan Green, Jr. and ILWU Local 8 President Don Ronne, but in stereotypical Oregon fashion, heavy rains moved the ribbon cutting indoors.
Built at a cost of $17 million, the terminal began with just a 66-acre footprint and two 900-foot berths. It was named for the late John M. Fulton, former president of the Port of Portland Commission. The first ship to visit the facility was American Mail Lines’ Oregon Mail, which sailed loaded with export cargo bound for Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe, Japan.
Over the past four decades, the now 419-acre terminal has been an economic engine, employment generator and trade gateway for more than 1,000 businesses throughout the region. Leased to terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, today the terminal offers service provided by Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd and Westwood Shipping. Full import containers were up by 13% in 2013.
Pulled from Port archives, the following front pages of old Port publications (circa 1974) give a flavor for the significance and excitement surrounding the opening of Oregon’s first dedicated, deep-draft international container terminal.