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Port Of Portland’s Container Terminal At A Competitive Disadvantage, Study Says

Cargo Containers

The Port of Portland's troubled Terminal 6 should not count on a revival of the weekly, trans-Pacific container service by multiple carriers it once enjoyed, energy and infrastructure consultancy Advisian WorleyParsons reported recently. 

Rather, the terminal needs to foster a more diversified client base, the consultancy told the Port of Portland Commission.

Only a few years ago, trans-Pacific container service through the terminal was robust, but consolidation among shipping companies and the increasing size of oceangoing vessels has changed things, Transport Topics reports.

The realities of the shipping industry mean that the terminal is in a weaker position to compete with mega-ports along the West Coast, such as Seattle-Tacoma, Oakland and Los Angeles-Long Beach.

More ultra-large container vessels are already plying the ocean between Asia and the West Coast than a few years ago, and they are favoring the ports that can handle them.

For the Port of Portland, a more diversified client base would include handling breakbulk cargo — items shipped as separate pieces — as well as standardized containers, the report said.

The port has already started moving in the direction of diversification.

Singapore-based Swire Shipping will soon begin using Port of Portland’s container terminal to carry Western Star trucks, manufactured by Daimler in Portland, to Australia. The shipper will also carry agricultural goods and other exports from Portland to Asian ports.