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Shipping Line Returns to Portland

by Associated Press
Capital Press - June 14, 2002

PORTLAND -- Hanjin Shipping, the international ocean freight carrier that pulled out of the Port of Portland last year, said this week it would resume sending its ships on Aug. 1.

Officials at Hanjin, one of the world's largest carriers, credited the company's change of heart to a rebounding economy and demonstrated demand in Portland from shippers, brokers and freight forwarders.

"Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, a groundswell of support by the local business and political community tipped the balance in Portland's favor," said Jeffery V. McEwen, Hanjin's regional manager in Portland.

The South Korean company pulled out of the port in December, dealing a serous blow to the already struggling agency. Delta Airlines ended its flights to Japan last March and Evergreen America, another container shipper, stopped Portland service last June.

Hanjin's June 11 decision to return to Portland will increase the port's container shipping capacity by about 0ne-third, bringing ships en route to Japan, Korea and Northern China.

The additional shipping capacity will mainly benefit Oregon agricultural exporters. Exporters of heavy, low-value commodities such as hay, lumber and vegetables will benefit from having more opportunity to ship through Portland. Otherwise, such goods would be trucked or sent by rail to Puget Sound ports.

This isn't the first time Hanjin has changed its mind about Portland business.

In March 1996, the company shifted its weekly service from Portland to Vancouver B.C., because the company was worried their growing ships would not be able to navigate the Columbia River's 40-foot channel.

The company returned to Portland in October 1997.

The Port of Portland handles about 2 percent of the container traffic on the West Coast, according to the Pacific Maritime Association.

by Associated Press
Shipping Line Returns to Portland
Capital Press - June 14, 2002

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