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PORTLAND-The Port of Portland Commission this week agreed to let Oregon Steel Mills use one Terminal 6 berth and nine acres of yard space for a minimum of five years for a minimum of $300,000 per year. The one agreement goes a long way toward helping two port clients.Oregon Steel’s manufacturing plant has been located in the southern half of the Port’s Rivergate Industrial District since 1968. The plant, which employs more than 700 people, imports large 30-ton steel slabs as the raw material for its plate, coil and pipe manufacturing process.

Since August 1998, OSM has used Terminal 6 and the Port’s Terminal 4 for importing the slabs, although most of the material has come through Terminal 4. In June 1999, the Port and OSM entered into a five-year agreement for preferential berth space at Terminal 4, together with one warehouse and 20 acres of adjoining property for slab storage. As a backup to Terminal 4, the agreement included rights to non-preferential berth space at Terminal 6 and an adjoining five acres for storage.

Since the 1999 agreement however, Toyota Logistics Services Inc.-the distribution arm of the Japan-based car maker-has indicated its desire to remain at Terminal 4 long-term, and is in negotiations with the Port to redevelop and modernize its 26-year-old automobile handling facility. The processing portion of Toyota’s logistics operation will be relocated from a facility above Terminal 4 down to Berth 414, the same dock used by Oregon Steel for discharging slabs. This will require relocation of all of OSM’s steel slab deliveries and storage to Terminal 6.

“By moving everything to Terminal 6, it gives Oregon Steel Mills a smaller, more efficient space in which to discharge and temporarily store its raw materials,” said John Hachey, the Port’s marine business development general manager. “With this agreement, they now have preferential berth space at Terminal 6 and the option of using our on-dock cranes whenever on-board ships cranes aren’t adequate to handle the weight of the slabs.”

The port’s new agreement with OSM follows a decision by Hanjin/Senator Line to cut its weekly vessel service to Terminal 6 (and two Asian containerports from its Pacific Northwest Express vessel service) after the Dec. 23-24 ship call.

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