The Port of Portland and Fort Worth, Texas-based western railroad BNSF Railway Co. have launched a partnership calling for BNSF to operate a rail shuttle service five days a week from Portland to the Port of Seattle/Tacoma for loading aboard vessels leaving the Puget Sound port complex.
In a related development, the port has engaged a 22-member consultant team from various constituencies to determine the future role of container shipping in Portland, focusing on a model for developing the port's Terminal 6, where the BNSF operation will commence. The port was not ranked among the top 50 of North American containerports in the American Association of Port Authorities' (AAPA) 2016 database.
The announcement follows news that Singapore-based ship line Swire Shipping will begin a monthly container call at Terminal 6 this month, offering regional shippers a new opportunity to move their goods overseas, the port said in a statement.
"The rail service will complement the monthly container ship call by giving our local shippers another path to market," said Curtis Robinhold, the port's executive director. "We hope to continue building on this momentum and interest at Terminal 6."
The consulting group is composed of representatives of importers, exporters, service providers, carriers, ports, labor, and legislators with strong shipper interests. The port and consultant team and committee will report their findings to the Port Commission this month.