The Port of Portland’s container-terminal operator confirmed Tuesday that shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has given official notice and will no longer stop in Portland.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Fridaythat Hapag-Lloyd was no longer scheduling containers to be shipped in and out of Portland, and had stopped scheduling ships.
The official announcement comes about a month after Hanjin Shipping Co. stopped calling at Portland. Together, Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd make up nearly all of Terminal 6’s business.
Only Westwood, which is scheduled to send a ship at the end of April, is still moving products through Portland’s container port. The line, which visits once a month, has a contract with the port through December.
Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd were not under contract.
Elvis Ganda, chief executive of ICTSI Oregon, which took over container-terminal operations in 2010, said he is working to attract new lines to the port. But years of labor slowdowns at the docks has made Portland a hard sell — on top of the 100-mile-inland port’s existing challenge of only being able to accommodate vessels that can fit through the Columbia River channel.
Ganda blames the dockworkers for intentionally sabotaging the port because of a grudge against ICTSI Oregon — to the point of making the terminal unattractive for shipping lines.
“While ICTSI Oregon will continue efforts to attract new customers, no carrier will want to make a long-term commitment to the terminal so long as (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) workers delay cargo and vessels as a strong-arm tactic to get what they want,” Ganda said. “We hold the ILWU fully accountable for its actions; therefore, it is imperative that the ILWU leadership in San Francisco publicly commit that its efforts to interfere with productivity in Portland are over.”
A spokeswoman for the ILWU said Hapag-Lloyd’s decision is not a surprise. The union, usually through the headquarters in San Francisco, has accused ICTSI Oregon of poor management practices.
Even though Ganda estimates that Terminal 6 is filling less than 100 jobs each week, down from 550 when Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd were still calling, union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent downplayed the impact to workers.
“Terminal 6 is just one of eleven export terminals in Portland. Longshoremen work at the other ten terminals and enjoy positive relations with the terminal operators.”
Read the initial report for perspective on the importance of Hapag-Lloyd: Port of Portland container terminal loses almost all business after Hapag-Lloyd stops trips
— Molly Harbarger