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MSC calls at Portland, bringing hope to neglected west coast port

A neglected river port on America’s congested west coast is finding new business amid the extraordinary operating conditions in today’s container shipping market.

Saturday saw the 4,900 teu MSC Ela make a maiden call at the port of Portland in Oregon, the start of what will become a weekly service.

The port, located on the Columbia river, has struggled to gain container clients since Hanjin Shipping quit calling in 2015. A smaller line, Westwood, departed in 2016, leaving the port without any container clients for a number of years.

In 2020, South Korea’s SM Line started calling at the port on a weekly basis, and SM has recently added more ships to this rotation to meet demand.

Foss Maritime’s tugs Carolyn Dorothy and Sarah assisted the first-ever arrival of an MSC ship calling Portland on Saturday.

Art Dahlin, general manager for Foss in the Columbia Snake River region, commented: “As a solution to the many challenges facing the supply chain due to the pandemic, MSC’s arrival supports the fact that the Port of Portland is a viable option for shipping companies calling on US West Coast ports.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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