Friday, May 20, 2016

Westwood Shipping Departs Portland Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

Westwood Shipping Lines, which had been the sole carrier calling at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 over the past 10 months, announced in a letter to its customers this week that the company will no longer call on the terminal after May 21.

In its letter, Westwood Shipping, which had been calling on the terminal once a month, said the arrangement was no longer economically viable. Each call to Portland took about 150 containers of hay, grass seed, dried fruits, other mixed agricultural goods and paperboard for export to Japan.

Puyallup, Washington-based Westwood had called Terminal 6 with container service since July 2010. The port already had lost 95 percent of its container service in March 2015 after shippers Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd pulled out due to a lingering labor dispute that had played a part of decreased productivity.

The carriers had complained it was taking too long to load and unload ships because of a three-year dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Terminal 6 operator ICTSI Oregon.

Westwood suspended service in April of last year, but returned with monthly export calls last July.

“While we are disappointed with this news, we also understand the underlying economics of the carrier industry are at play like over-capacity and exceptionally low rates. We are hopeful that Westwood will return to T-6 when market dynamics improve,” the port said in a May 18 statement, adding that it intended to focus on recruitment of new carrier service and assist shippers with access to markets.

Bulk, breakbulk and auto operations at terminals 2, 4, 5 and 6 are not impacted by Westwood Shipping’s departure, according to the port.