South Korea’s Hanjin shipping will drop the call at Portland, Oregon, from its ‘PNH’ service in early 2014. The US West Coast port, located on the Columbia river, will therewith lose its one and only Transpacific container service.
Hanjin blamed rising handling charges and sagging longshore labor productivity for its decision. So far, the ‘PNH’ service handled an average of about 1,600 containers per week, Hanjin therewith accounts for 80 percent of Portland’s container business.
Apart from Westwood’s forest product service, which also accepts limited numbers of containers, Hapag-Lloyd’s and Hamburg Sud’s joint Panama Canal-routed Mediterranean – WCNA loop ‘MPS’ will remain the only container service left at Portland.
Hanjin’s decision is a major blow to the Manila-headquartered terminal operator ICTSI, which runs Portland’s container pier. The company is only a few years into a 25-year concession period and attracting new cargo or even new carriers to Portland is increasingly turning into an uphill task.