Hanjin Shipping to keep calling on Port of Portland

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PORTLAND — Port of Portland officials say a South Korean shipping company unhappy about the pace of work among longshore workers will continue serving the port's container operation.

The long-awaited word came Monday in a memo from Hanjin Shipping, which handles more than 75 percent of the container volume at the port's Terminal 6, The Oregonian reported.

Many Northwest businesses use the terminal to export or import goods. Their costs would rise and the port would suffer a blow if cargo had to be trucked to or from Puget Sound.

The port granted $20-a-container subsidies in hopes they would keep Hanjin sending ships up the Columbia River to the port.

Terminal 6 has been in turmoil since 2012, as members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union clashed with the Philippines-based company known as ICTSI that operates it for the port

"The Port of Portland's productivity has still not shown any sign of improvement for the past months," Hanjin's memo said. "We are working closely with the terminal to solve the productivity issues in order to keep the service up and running."

The decision wasn't unexpected, said a statement from Jennifer Sargent, a union spokeswoman.

"The taxpayers of three Oregon counties have spent more than $10 million in subsidies to entice Hanjin to stay in Portland despite ICTSI's monopolistic-generated performance and worldwide business model of squeezing labor, government and carriers," Sargent said.

Sam Ruda, the port's chief commercial officer, said the news would give some certainty to shipping.

"They're not saying everything is perfect at the terminal," Ruda said. "But they'll be reviewing the operations performance on a quarterly basis, and we'll go from there."