14 February 2018
Due to the trend for larger ships and a merging of shipping lines, in 2016 the container operation at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 disappeared and since then, the terminal has been struggling. In response to this, the Port reached out to Advisian for advice on the sustainability of its business.
At a recent commission meeting of the Port of Portland, Nolan Gimpel, project manager and principal consultant with Advisian, presented the team’s findings of how Terminal 6 can survive. "We had difficulty taking a pure container operation and coming up with a model which was sustainable," he said. "We had to find what we could do to prop up the container business to make it sustainable."1
In order to break even, Terminal 6 would have to move more containers than ever before. Though with today’s trend of utilizing mega ships, which can’t access Portland via the shallow Columbia River, this was an unlikely scenario. To overcome this, Advisian and its subcontractors (Coraggio Group and The Beckett Group) concluded that by diversifying to a mix of cargo uses (intermodal rail, break bulk, autos), the terminal could subsidize its container business and even make a profit.
After the results of our study were presented, Port Commissioner Linda Pearce commented, "When I became a commissioner, there were a lot of issues with Terminal 6, so to get to this point feels like a victory. We now have data to make good decisions."1
Read the full story at the Portland Business Tribune: Port: Don’t count on containers.
1) Portland Business Tribune; Port: Don't count on containers; January 16, 2018. Joseph Gallivan.