Overseas Reps, the Port's Constant Presence in Asia

by Kenny Macdonald 10/23/2015 1:40 PM

October 21, 2015 - Although the trade delegation from the Port of Portland traveling with Governor Kate Brown in Asia will be on their way back home soon, that doesn’t mean the Port won’t continue to be well-represented there. Sometimes in marketing the Port of Portland, it’s as much about relationships as it is what we have to offer, which is why the Port of Portland is represented directly in five Asian cities by agents who help us keep the lines of communication open with potential partners in trade.

Masa Mukouchi, Tokyo and Jim Kim, Seoul both work closely with the Port and Business Oregon in their respective countries. Charles Wang is the President of Formosa Transportation Company in Taipei with Ann Tseng, and branch offices in Tianjin and Shanghai staffed by Jackie Xu, and Zoe Zong, respectively. Phillip Lee in Hong Kong is expanding his role to support air cargo development.

When Portland-based marketing staff visits Asia, they depend heavily upon the overseas offices to work out logistics and schedule business calls in advance. Between visits, agents continue working directly with customers and representing the Port year round. “They maintain a consistent and meaningful presence for the Port by providing continuity between visits,” said Greg Borossay, senior manager for trade and cargo development.

The agents recently visited Portland in mid-August for a series of local sales calls and interviews with Port directors. At a presentation to Port Commercial Team Staff, they provided an overview of overseas customer relationships, offered market insight, and shared what it is like to live and work in the cities of Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Shanghai and Tianjin. During their stay, the agents staffed an information booth at Seaport Celebration, the annual public open house the Port organizes at Marine Terminal 4 and helped answer questions from a curious public.

Of course, a major topic of interest is the reestablishment of container service to T-6. Although the Port has other business lines that make up the vast majority of work on the waterfront, the lack of frequent container service that supports the region’s small and agricultural businesses is the proverbial elephant in the room. The overseas agents say it is their top priority.

“Many people ask me when I am going to retire,” says Jim Kim, who has been representing the Port and the State of Oregon for almost 30 years. “Not until I help bring back consistent and sufficient container service to Portland,” he says with a wry but determined smile.

You can find contact information for our overseas reps here

NLRB Ruling Affirmed

by Kenny Macdonald 10/9/2015 11:55 AM

October 9, 2015 - Last week, a three-judge panel at the National Labor Relations Board confirmed a 2013 administrative law judge ruling that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8 and Local 40 engaged in a variety of activities at Terminal 6, like slowdowns and threats to shut down operations, that violated federal labor laws.

The decision affirms the finding of unfair labor practices set against several parties were meant to influence the Port to give the ILWU jurisdiction over the dockside refrigerated container work, work that has belonged to IBEW for more than 40 years. The decision mandates the ILWU cease and desist from encouraging, threatening or participating in slow-downs, and filing grievance claims to coerce neutral third parties from working with or forcing the Port to reassign the IBEW work at the terminal. According to media reports, the ILWU has indicated it will appeal this decision, leaving open other pending legal disputes between the parties. 

Keith Leavitt, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port says it is unfortunate that this affirmation was delayed because of contention that presidential NLRB judge recess appointments were invalid, an issue that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2014. It would have been more timely to have this decision when regular container service was calling Portland.

The two largest of three container carriers, Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd, ceased Portland service in early 2015 after productivity declined to intolerable levels. A smaller remaining carrier, Westwood Shipping, suspended its service in April, but resumed monthly calls in July.

“Nevertheless, we view this  NLRB decision as an important independent review of the underlying jurisdictional dispute and appropriately confirms the Port’s right to assign reefer work to the IBEW,”   Leavitt said.

The Port is working with Terminal 6 operator ICTSI to actively market the terminal for new container service to Asia, Europe and Latin America. While regional cargo volumes continue to grow and will support Portland container operations, restoring service is a complex challenge and will likely require the collaboration of the Port, ICTSI, shippers and longshore labor to be successful.

“Like ICTSI, we would like to see ILWU leave these issues behind, come back to work and rebuild business at T-6. This is a first step. The next is a common commitment by the ILWU, and terminal management to bring this terminal along with its contribution to the regional economy, back to life. Finger pointing won’t get the job done,” said Bill Wyatt, the Port of Portland’s Executive Director.

Portland Preparing for Withdrawal of Largest Container Carrier

by thomaj 2/10/2015 10:55 PM

Hanjin Shipping has notified the Port and terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, Inc. that it plans to withdraw direct call service from Portland as of March 9, 2015. It is the largest container carrier offering service via Terminal 6 – Oregon’s only deep draft international container terminal.

“Hanjin has been a vitally important and longtime carrier in our market, and this will be a tough loss for our region,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “We have made every attempt to prevent this outcome.”

With a presence in the community since 1993, Hanjin has contracts with the area’s largest shippers. The departure leaves Hapag-Lloyd and Westwood Shipping as the remaining direct calling carriers. The withdrawal will not impact the Port’s other marine business lines such as autos, grain, minerals, steel, project cargo or liquid bulks.

The Port has a 25-year lease with ICTSI Oregon, Inc. for the container terminal that will remain in place, but there are short and long term impacts of losing direct call container service. More than 900 businesses depend on the Port to get their goods to and from international markets, and the Hanjin service supports an estimated 657 direct jobs and $33 million in wages annually.

After March 9, shippers in the region who used the Hanjin service will need to use rail or truck transportation to reach other ports at a higher cost per container. In the coming weeks, Port officials will remain engaged in conversations with Hanjin Shipping, ICTSI Oregon, Inc., shippers and others to explore potential solutions and next steps.

“We are concerned for local importers, exporters and the hundreds of good family wage jobs that depend on this vital service,” said Wyatt. “It will take considerable effort and cooperation, but we will do our best to recruit a new transpacific service like Hanjin.”

Port Auto Business Evolves as Mustang Goes Global

by thomaj 1/21/2015 5:03 PM

Back in 1953, when the Port of Portland first started handling autos, each car was loaded off of the ships – one by one – using a crane. These days, vehicles are driven off and on the ships, which resemble giant floating parking garages. It is much more efficient and with a very low incidence of damage or injuries.

That’s not the only thing that has changed.

Just a few short years ago, the Port was the second largest auto import gateway on the U.S. West Coast and fifth largest in the nation, but its auto export totals were close to zero. Today, exports comprise approximately 20% of the Port’s total auto volumes. In 2014, nearly 50,000 Ford vehicles were exported through the Port, which represented a 400% increase from 2013. 

Strong and growing demand for Ford vehicles in Korea, China and in other international markets was demonstrated by the recent announcement out of Dearborn, Michigan that the iconic Mustang would be shipped globally for the first time. Portland was featured prominently in the announcement as the export gateway for the first shipment.

Auto exports and imports at the Port support more than 500 local jobs that pay above average wages. On the import side, vehicles are accessorized for the North American market by local workers in Portland before being delivered to dealerships. They are also ‘homologated’ in Portland before export to meet the different standards required or desired in Korea and China.

Portland is ideally suited to handle autos, offering a great track record, capacity to grow, a skilled workforce and excellent transportation infrastructure to handle imports and exports. Autos continue to be an important part of the Port’s diverse marine cargo portfolio, which also includes containers, grain, minerals, steel, liquids and project cargo.

Geoff Owen Announced as New Marine Terminal Manager

by thomaj 1/16/2015 11:43 AM


Geoff Owen has been selected as the Port’s new marine terminal manager, assuming the role previously held by Jeff Krug, who is now general manager of marine operations.

In this role, Geoff will manage Terminals 2, 4 and 5 and be responsible for all terminal and vessel operations, coordinate Port resources to support terminal operations and serve as the Port’s account manager for existing tenants at each terminal. Geoff will also be assisting the commercial team on new business development initiatives, have operating budget responsibility for each terminal and serve as sponsor on capital projects.


Before joining the Port, Geoff served in various capacities in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) aboard vessels and also stationed ashore. Geoff was accepted into the USCG legal program and last served in the USCG JAG office as chief, claims and litigation for the western U.S. 


Geoff joined the Port as marine security manager in 2008, responsible for security personnel, regulatory compliance and security infrastructure at the Port’s marine terminals. Geoff attended Lewis and Clark College, receiving his undergraduate degree in history and law degree from the Northwestern School of Law.

Study reveals impact of road congestion on state’s economy and jobs

by thomaj 1/6/2015 4:16 PM

Today a coalition of business and civic leaders released an update to a 2005 Cost of Congestion report, revealing that Oregon’s future economic competitiveness and job growth are heavily reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system.

The 2015 report analyzes the state’s dependence on a reliable transportation system to move goods, ensure access to labor and increase productivity. It highlights that additional transportation investment is needed to maintain Oregon’s ability to remain competitive in a global economy.

“Oregon, including the Portland-metro area, is a sea and air gateway as well as a regional rail and highway hub, which uniquely situates us to be a major player in domestic and international trade,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland. “With so much of our state’s livelihood dependent on a robust transportation system, we have a tremendous opportunity and a responsibility to modern and competitive.”

This report identifies the current economic foundation of the state and examines how congestion and transportation barriers affect Oregon’s economy, jobs and productivity. It also analyzes the impact of increased transportation investment on the state’s economy and jobs. Key report findings include:

  • Additional transportation investments would generate 8,300 jobs, $1.1 billion in benefits, and a $2.40 return for every $1 of investment, by 2040.
  • More than 346,000 jobs were transportation-related and transportation-dependent in Oregon in 2013.
  • $300 billion worth of goods moved in Oregon on all modes of transportation in 2012.
  • By 2040, the average Portland-metro household will experience nearly 70 hours of congestion annually, equating to nearly two weeks of time spent sitting in traffic.
  • $920 million of Oregon annual economic output/sales would generated by businesses as a result of an improved transportation system by 2040.

“Our state is heavily dependent on traded-sector industries, which provide well-paying jobs for Oregon’s residents,” said Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance. “In order to ensure this critical sector continues to grow, we need an efficient and reliable transportation system. We hope this analysis will signal to leaders the need for collaboration and funding at both state and federal levels to keep Oregon economically competitive.”

The report’s data and analysis were compiled by Economic Development Research Group for the Value of Jobs Coalition and was produced by the Portland Business Alliance. Coalition partners include Associated Oregon Industries, Greater Portland Inc., Oregon Business Association, Oregon Business Council, and Port of Portland. View the full report at valueofjobs.com/congestion_2014/.

Port of Portland Promotes Keith Leavitt to Chief Commercial Officer

by thomaj 12/8/2014 5:08 PM

Keith Leavitt has been named the Port of Portland’s new chief commercial officer. Leavitt most recently served as the Port’s general manager of business development and properties. In his new role, Leavitt will hold responsibility for the Port’s business and economic development activities and will work to ensure the Port obtains a market-based rate of return on Port assets. He will oversee both aviation and marine business development functions along with acquiring, developing, managing and marketing the Port’s diversified industrial real estate portfolio.

Leavitt joined the Port in 1999, first serving as state government affairs manager and later as development project manager. Highlights of his Port career include: leading a multi-year Port initiative to change the organization’s container business model, including a global market solicitation for a long term lease of the Port’s T-6 container terminal; and directing several key Port property acquisitions including Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park and Gresham Vista Business Park.

Prior to joining the Port, Leavitt served as division manager and economic development representative for the Oregon Economic Development Department.

“Keith brings a strong background in business and economic development and commercial property management to this critical Port leadership position,” said Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt. “His 15-year history with the Port, coupled with his insight into the business challenges and opportunities on our horizon, will serve the organization well as we continue our mission to provide access to world markets and grow the region’s economy.”

Leavitt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University and a graduate certificate in real estate development from Portland State University.

He replaces Sam Ruda who will leave the Port later this month to pursue other interests.


Oregon’s First and Only International Container Terminal Turns 40

by thomaj 10/31/2014 11:10 AM

It was forty years ago today that Terminal 6 opened to the public for a formal dedication ceremony – and the “most modern container facility on the Pacific Coast” was officially open for business.

On the morning of October 31, 1974, plans called for Oregon Governor Tom McCall and Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt to drive a tractor through a blue ribbon held by Commission President Alan Green, Jr. and ILWU Local 8 President Don Ronne, but in stereotypical Oregon fashion, heavy rains moved the ribbon cutting indoors.

Built at a cost of $17 million, the terminal began with just a 66-acre footprint and two 900-foot berths. It was named for the late John M. Fulton, former president of the Port of Portland Commission.  The first ship to visit the facility was American Mail Lines’ Oregon Mail, which sailed loaded with export cargo bound for Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe, Japan.

Over the past four decades, the now 419-acre terminal has been an economic engine, employment generator and trade gateway for more than 1,000 businesses throughout the region. Leased to terminal operator ICTSI Oregon, today the terminal offers service provided by Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd and Westwood Shipping. Full import containers were up by 13% in 2013.

Pulled from Port archives, the following front pages of old Port publications (circa 1974) give a flavor for the significance and excitement surrounding the opening of Oregon’s first dedicated, deep-draft international container terminal.


Related Links:

Save Time and Money Importing through Terminal 6

ICTSI Oregon, Inc.


Canpotex to Invest at Port of Portland Terminal

by thomaj 10/8/2014 12:06 PM

Portland is already the largest gateway on the U.S. West Coast for bulk mineral exports, and that gateway is about to get more efficient and diversified with the expansion of the Canpotex Limited (Canpotex) potash export facility at the Port of Portland’s marine Terminal 5 in the Rivergate Industrial District.

Canpotex, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Portland Bulk Terminals, L.L.C. (PBT), is investing up to $140 million in new equipment and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of its shiploading operations and the management of Canpotex’s specialty white potash products. A new shiploader, improved control system technology and an upgraded conveyance system will enable shorter turnaround times for Canpotex trains and ships at PBT. A new storage building will allow the potash exporter to better manage its specialty grade products at the terminal.

“This investment is great for Canpotex and the Port because it improves the speed and quality of our operations at the terminal. But it’s not just our company that benefits; we are doing our part to try to build efficiency into the transportation system in the Pacific Northwest corridor,” said Canpotex’s Steve Dechka, president and chief executive officer.

After significant collaboration and discussion with key stakeholders, Port staff and Portland Development Commission (PDC) personnel proposed an enterprise zone expansion to include the PBT facility. The expanded enterprise zone was approved unanimously by Portland City Council last December. The company’s plans began to materialize shortly thereafter and were officially approved at the October 8 Port Commission meeting.

Canpotex is a joint venture among three Province of Saskatchewan, Canada potash producers: Agrium, Mosaic and PotashCorp. Acting as an international marketing and logistics entity, Canpotex will continue to seek further capacity and efficiency enhancements across its supply chain as export markets allow. In addition to PBT, Canpotex has terminal operations at Neptune Terminal in Vancouver, B.C.

Potash, also known as potassium chloride, helps increase crop yields as a mineral nutrient used in fertilizer applications. More than two million metric tons of Saskatchewan potash is exported through Portland annually to international markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

“Along with grain and agricultural exports, potash is yet another cargo type handled through our port that helps feed the world,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “Canpotex has been a great tenant for nearly two decades, and we are excited that this world-class shipper’s roots in Portland are growing even deeper with this expansion.”

As a result of a long-term lease extension, Canpotex expects to increase its tonnage incrementally in the coming years. The construction will prompt private investment with local sourcing of materials, yielding increased tax revenue, new construction jobs and long-term employment.

“This is yet another prime example of the influx of private investments in marine industrial facilities on our river system,” said Wyatt. “Since completion of the Columbia River channel deepening project in 2010, companies have initiated and committed investments totaling more than $866 million in Portland facilities and approximately $3.7 billion along the river system to date.”

“Attracting this significant foreign direct investment relied on strong collaboration between PDC, the city, the Port and Canpotex,” said Patrick Quinton, executive director of the PDC. “We’re very pleased to be able to use the Enterprise Zone program to build Portland’s exports and bring considerable community benefits to North and Northeast Portland.”

Port Receives Accolades for Study on Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide

by thomaj 9/11/2014 5:53 PM

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has announced the Port of Portland as recipient of an Environmental Achievement Award for its efforts to gain a better understanding of initiatives and trends in environmental protection and enhancement at ports around the globe.

The Port first partnered with the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports (I2S2) in 2010 to develop a white paper entitled, Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices. The Port and I2S2 worked together to research the geographic, community, financial and regulatory drivers that influence decisions related to sustainability by conducting interviews, online research and literature reviews.

The information was initially gathered to guide conversations around future marine terminal development in the Portland harbor. However, the research paper was designed such that the information could be universally accessible to any ports reaching the same critical decision points.

In 2013, the Port and I2S2 teamed up again to develop an updated version of the white paper, adding new information about environmental initiatives and assessing changing trends within the industry since the first release of the white paper. Staff from the Port and I2S2 has personally delivered the findings of the effort at conferences and with key stakeholder groups. The paper is also publicly available in many locations online.

AAPA granted the award to the Port in the category of Stakeholder Awareness, Education, and Involvement. The Port will be recognized, along with ports who took top honors in three other categories, on Thursday, Nov. 13, at AAPA’s 103rd Annual Convention and Exposition.

Earlier this month, the Port also earned a Special Recognition award from the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies for serving as a role model in using alternative stormwater management techniques at marine Terminal 6.

Related Link:

American Association of Port Authorities News Release