Update: Hanjin Drops Portland Port Amid Labor Battle

Hanjin container ship

Published Feb 11, 2015 5:22 PM by Kayla Turner

Hanjin Shipping Co. withdrew officially from the Port of Portland on Tuesday as a labor dispute at an International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI)-operated terminal continues.

Local media reported that Hanjin sent a letter, dated February 10th, saying it would terminate calling at Portland, but would continue to serve Portland and nearby regions via truck and rail transport to Seattle. The expected last day of service is March 9.

ICTSI Oregon was reportedly surprised by the move and was made aware of the changes after Hanjin sent its stakeholders a new long-range schedule that showed the March 4 Hanjin Brussels ship as its last to dock in Portland.

This will be a major blow to the Port of Portland as Hanjin is reported to account for 65% to 80% of its business, moving roughly 1,600 containers per week and generating $83 million annually. According to the Port of Portland, about 657 jobs are supported by the business brought by Hanjin, paying out $33 million in wages per year.

At the end of January, ICTSI Oregon publicly called out the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) saying the disruption it was experiencing was “far beyond” that of other U.S. West Coast ports. The dispute between ICTSI and ILWU has gone on since June 2012.

Hanjin’s most recent ship sat in the port for four days waiting to be unloaded while the longshore workers stopped working Friday and Monday to protest their grievance with ICTSI, and the port operator canceled work on Saturday and Sunday, saying the workers weren't productive enough to justify paying. Hanjin also threatened to quit Portland back in 2013 due to similar circumstances.

Hapag-Lloyd and Westwood Shipping are now the container terminal's sole customers.

Partial Shutdown at Ports

Reuters reports that shipping lines plan a partial four-day shutdown of U.S. West Coast ports, starting on Thursday, amid stalled labor talks between the companies and the union representing 20,000 dockworkers, the companies said on Wednesday.

Loading and unloading of cargo vessels at the 29 ports will be suspended anew, as they were last weekend, on Thursday and again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a spokesman for the companies' bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association said.

The PMA said, however, that work would continue in the terminal yards during those days for clearing cargo containers stacked up at the ports, which handle nearly half all of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of Asian imports.