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Port Announces Container Shipping Will Continue at Terminal 6

Today, the Port of Portland announced it would continue providing marine container shipping services at Terminal 6, keeping Oregon’s only international container terminal available for shippers, along with the workers and local businesses that rely on them statewide. 

The decision follows Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek’s May 16 announcement that she will include two critical items in her 2025-27 biennial budget that directly affect marine cargo service at T6: capital investments at the terminal, and channel maintenance costs in the lower Columbia River. Kotek also announced support for operational stop-gap funding from the Oregon Emergency Board this fall. With the new state funding, container operations at T6 will carry on as the Port continues to lay a foundation for its long-term financial sustainability.  

“We’re grateful for Governor Kotek’s declaration of support, and her commitment to maintaining this important piece of our economy,” said Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold. “We are also extremely grateful for the strong backing from a bipartisan group of legislators who recognize the value of trade to businesses and communities throughout our state. With the support of the Oregon Legislature, container shipping at Terminal 6 will continue, along with the benefits it provides for Oregon businesses and the quality jobs it provides for our community. This level of government and community support is something Oregonians should be proud of.” 

The Port has been working to rebuild container service since taking over the operation in 2018, following a temporary shutdown under former operator ICTSI. Without direct state support or a financially acceptable third-party lease, container operations have not been sustainable; in April, the Port announced that container service would cease in October, though auto and breakbulk shipping operations at T6 would continue. 

The April announcement generated a wave of advocacy from local businesses, legislators and other Oregonians, which inspired new interest from the state to maintain the service at T6. In a letter to the Port, Gov. Kotek indicated her support for ensuring the service – as well as the jobs, tax revenue and other public benefits it provides for Oregon remains available into the future. 

“After the Port of Portland’s April announcement that container service would end this October, I heard from scores of producers throughout Oregon that relied on Terminal 6 to ship their goods,” Gov. Kotek said. “Having represented the Port’s home district in the Oregon Legislature for many years, I understand that the terminal’s location makes container operations at Terminal 6 economically challenging. In response, I am proposing to invest $40 million in state funds to allow container service to continue and communicate my expectations for reliable and sustainable service moving forward.” 

The $40 million proposal includes $35 million in the governor’s 2025-27 recommended budget and $5 million in operational support from the Oregon Emergency Board in September. 

Port Looks Forward to Ongoing Partnership with State Leaders 

Gov. Kotek’s funding proposal will relieve short-and longer-term cost pressures for the Port. The investments, which require legislative approval to be implemented, will allow the Port to continue weathering short-term deficits from container operations while continuing to identify operational efficiencies and a lasting, workable lease agreement with a third-party operator. As part of the proposal, the Port will be required to report progress on operation improvements and volume growth. 

Chief Trade and Economic Development Officer Keith Leavitt said the bottom line is that container service will remain open at Terminal 6. 

“Gov. Kotek's support for investing in marine container operations is a game changer, demonstrating the state’s political will to provide ongoing support for international container service and the countless benefits it provides,” Leavitt said. “The container business is bipartisan and statewide in its impact, and I want to thank Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, who has also been instrumental in getting us to this critical point. We look forward to continuing to work with government, industry and labor partners, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and our T6 stevedore, Harbor Industrial, to secure funding from the Emergency Board this fall and in the 2025 Oregon Legislative Session, laying a foundation for long-term financial sustainability of container operations at T6.” 

ILWU, Harbor Industrial, Join Port in Support of Proposal 

The governor’s proposal also has the support of key Port partners, including International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents many workers who load and unload container ships at T6, as well as Harbor Industrial, which leads stevedoring operations at the container terminal. 

“Since the Port of Portland reopened container service at T6 in 2018, we have enjoyed an era of strong collaboration and partnership with the Port – collaboration and productivity we look forward to continuing through the state’s investment,” said Troy Mosteller, ILWU Local 8 President. “We are grateful for the governor’s backing and will be at the table with the Port to advocate for the Legislature’s support as well.” 

“Harbor Industrial has an unwavering commitment to maintaining and growing the existing container business at Terminal 6,” said Mickey Hawke, CEO of Harbor Industrial. “We stand ready to continue to work together with the Port, the ILWU and other stakeholders to maintain the highest standards of operational excellence, high productivity, safety and environmental stewardship at T6 for the long term.” 


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