Reports: Port of Portland to Stop Shipping Container Service in October; Keith Leavitt Comments

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Wed. April 17th, 2024 - by Peggy Packer

PORTLAND, OREGON - Recent reports from the Port of Portland have unveiled changes to a key service, as officials say the port’s shipping container service is no longer financially feasible.

Keith Leavitt, Chief Trade and Economic Development Officer, Port of Portland

“We know that this terminal is a critical statewide asset—it is worthy of further discussions to come up with a financially sustainable business model for container service that has significantly more state funding and investment,” Keith Leavitt, Chief Trade and Economic Development Officer at the port, recently wrote to industry stakeholders. “For now, we have run out of financial options and must take this step.”

According to reports from OBP, the Oregon port cannot afford to keep the state’s only shipping container terminal open past September after a deal with a third-party operator fell through. Costs have continued to go up, pushing the port’s container facility into the red despite increasing business.

The Port of Portland is ending its container shipping service on October 1, stating that it is no longer financially feasible

Given the facility’s importance to the region, port officials said they took the step to terminate the service reluctantly, as Terminal 6 has served as a key lifeline for small businesses and farmers throughout the Northwest.

The port has reportedly seen a loss of over $30 million in the past three years, which includes a projected $14 million for this year. Portland’s Terminal 6 has become less competitive as a transit point for container goods over the last decade, according to the source, due to a labor feud coupled with the logistical challenges of navigating container ships some 100 miles upriver.

The Port of Portland stated that a decision by BNSF Railway in 2022 to end service between Terminal 6 and Seattle/Tacoma also led to “a decrease in revenues used to cover a majority of the costs to operate the container terminal gate.”

The port’s container service will end on October 1.

For more transportation and logistics updates, stay tuned.