Posted on April 10, 2023
A container ship that made its way up the Columbia River Wednesday is the largest ever to dock at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6, narrowly edging out another massive ship that set the previous record last year.
The MSC Katie began heading upriver from Astoria Wednesday morning and had made it as far as Kalama by around 3:30 p.m. It was scheduled to arrive at Terminal 6 at around 6 p.m., according to Port of Portland strategic communications manager Melanni Rosales.
The ship is 1,200 feet long and has a maximum capacity of 12,400 TEU, meaning 12,400 stacked 20-foot shipping containers. The previous record holder to sail up the Columbia River was the roughly 1,100-foot-long Navios Unite, which stopped at Terminal 6 last March.
One important technicality, according to Rosales: While the MSC Katie is the longest ship ever to call at the port, it’s not the biggest by gross tonnage capacity.
That record goes to two tanker ships that were moored at Swan Island decades ago, she said. However, those tankers were empty at the time, so by actual loaded gross tonnage, Katie also wins.
The vessel last departed from Seattle and will be bound for Vancouver, Canada after its stop in Portland. While docked at Terminal 6, it will discharge and load about 970 containers, Rosales said.
Terminal 6, located on the Columbia River by North Marine Drive, is the Port of Portland’s main terminal for container shipments.
Container shipments at Terminal 6 ground to a halt in 2016 amid a dispute between the longshore union and the company managing the docks at the time, but they began to recover a few years later.
South Korea-based shipping company SM Line began docking its ships at Terminal 6 in 2020. SM Line expanded its vessel frequency in 2021, the same year that the world’s second-largest shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, also began using the port.