Terminal 6 Partial Closure: Unraveling Our Economy and Heritage

Cease Container Operations Oct. 1, 2024, Yet Remains Active for Shipping Autos and Break Bulk Cargo

     Terminal 6, operated by the Port of Portland, has played a significant role in the economic development of North Portland and the broader region since 1972. Now, it is closing and profoundly impacting our economy. Hundreds of jobs directly and indirectly linked to the container business are at risk, and significant Oregon businesses that rely on the terminal for importing and exporting goods will be affected. This terminal has been a critical hub for importing and exporting goods, including cargo in shipping containers, automobiles, and bulky items transported overseas by ship.

    In 2010, the Port of Portland leased Terminal 6. They outsourced container handling to International Container Services, Inc., Oregon (ICTSI). Conflict with the Longshore and Warehouse Union  (ILWU) ensued due to labor practices, working conditions, job security, wages, and safety conditions. The ILWU’s concerns were brushed aside, resulting in work slowing down in 2012 and shipping companies avoiding the port for nearly five years.  In 2017, the Port of Portland terminated ICTSI’s lease.

      The Port of Portland focused on recruiting new carriers to utilize Terminal 6 for container handling. Still, despite these efforts, the container business continued to face financial challenges, with significant losses in recent years. Talks with potential third-party operators to lease and run the container operations fell through and led to the shutting down of Terminal 6.

      The Port of Portland remains hopeful for the eventual resumption of container traffic. The port’s automobile shipping business, including partnerships with companies like Hyundai, Ford, and Toyota, is expected to continue. We reached out to the Port of Portland on April 16, 2024, and are awaiting a response. We will update as soon as one is received. The question remains: what does this mean for North Portland?