Port of Portland will end shipping container service in October

  • Port of Portland will end shipping container service in October

    Port of Portland will end shipping container service in October

    Portland’s Port Authority has announced the cessation of container services at Terminal 6 (T6) starting October 1st, 2024. The decision, outlined in a letter to Oregon’s importers and exporters by Keith Leavitt, the port’s Chief Trade and Economic Development Officer, comes amidst mounting financial losses and unsuccessful efforts to secure a third-party operator.

    Terminal 6 has been hemorrhaging funds, with projected losses of $13.7 million in 2024 following a $13.2 million deficit in the previous year. This financial strain, exacerbated by a 43% decline in container volumes from July 2023 to February 2024, rendered the operation unsustainable. Despite cost-cutting measures and delayed capital projects, the port’s financial predicament remained dire.

    The port’s appeal for a $10 million state grant to maintain container shipping services was rebuffed during Oregon’s legislative session. Negotiations with major carriers, Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) and SM Lines, to increase lift rates provided some respite, but without sufficient financial backing, Terminal 6 faced imminent closure.

    The closure of Terminal 6 deals a significant blow to the region’s economy, leaving Portland as the largest city on the West Coast without nearby container service. Historically, the terminal served as a crucial link for small businesses and farmers, facilitating the transport of crops, consumer goods, and agricultural resources.

    While lamenting the closure, port officials express hope for future discussions to devise a sustainable business model for container service. Despite the challenges, optimism persists, buoyed by rate concessions from carriers and the resilience of the state’s container business.

    The demise of Terminal 6 underscores the evolving dynamics of the international shipping container industry, with Portland grappling to adapt amidst labor disputes and logistical challenges. Collaboration with government partners and stakeholders will be pivotal in charting a new course for trade and commerce in the region.

    As Portland bids farewell to its container shipping terminal, city leaders pledge to explore opportunities for repositioning Terminal 6 and fostering job growth. While the closure marks the end of a chapter, it also signals the dawn of new possibilities and avenues for economic revitalization in Portland’s maritime landscape.

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