Port dispute could force prices higher

A Hanjin ship at the Port of Portland. Jan. 21, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)
A Hanjin ship at the Port of Portland. Jan. 21, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The dispute at the Port of Portland between the longshoreman’s union and the operator of Terminal Six affects hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars — and your pocketbook.

Both sides accuse the other of slowing down operations at the port as they haggle over wages, hours and work rules.
The biggest container carrier at the port is Hanjin of Korea, which accounts for 75% of all the container traffic. As a Hanjin ship sits at the dock waiting to be unloaded, company officials threaten to pull out of Portland — which could affect the local economy in a big way.

“Hanjin alone provides for more than 600 jobs and over $33 million in wages,” said the Port of Portland’s Josh Thomas.  When asked if the labor dispute has any influence on Hanjin’s decision, Thomas said, “The labor dispute doesn’t help.”

The irony is that the Port of Portland has limited control over what happens at Terminal 6. A private company, the International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) calls the shots as the terminal operator.

And they’re the ones in the dispute with the longshoreman’s union, ILWU.

Thomas said the decision to have a private company in charge at Terminal t was “a long-term decision, and so the verdict is still out at this point” if it was a good decision.

If Hanjin pulls out of Portland, the ripple effect could be higher prices on everyday items the containers bring into Oregon due to higher transportation costs.

Hanjin is expected to make its decision any day. In October 2013 they announced they were leaving, but the Port of Portland continued talking to help sway their decision.

KOIN 6 News repeatedly tried to get a comment from ICTSI, but no one responded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s