Friday, July 24, 2015

FMC Approves Seaport Alliance

By Mark Edward Nero

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) this week completed its competitive review and analysis of the Port of Seattle/Port of Tacoma Alliance Agreement and voted unanimously to allow the Northwest Seaport Alliance, as it’s commonly known, to become effective on July 23.

Under the alliance, which the two ports announced last October, Seattle and Tacoma plan to unify the management of their marine cargo terminals and related functions to attract more marine cargo to the region.

The Alliance authorizes the two ports to meet, discuss, and reach agreement on the management, use and operation of their marine cargo business, including joint business planning and marketing to further develop infrastructure and improve productivity. The agreement also authorizes establishment of a Port Development Authority (PDA), effective Aug. 1, to promote and assist economic development of the Alliance’s marine cargo operations.

The Commission said its decision to approve the agreement is based on a determination that the agreement isn’t likely to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation costs or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service under the Shipping Act.

With the Maritime Commission’s approval, the Alliance is now set to become the third-largest trade gateway in North America, behind the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Port of New York/New Jersey.

“The Pacific Northwest is a key region for inbound and outbound United States cargo, moving cargo not only for the regional trade, but also cargo headed to destinations throughout the entire U.S. Midwest, and this Alliance will help the region remain competitive into the future,” FMC Chair Mario Cordero said.