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FMC Approves Alliance Between Ports of Seattle and Tacoma

Friday, July 24, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Maritime Commission announced July 21 that it has completed its competitive review and analysis of the Port of Seattle/Port of Tacoma Alliance Agreement (FMC Agreement No. 201228). The FMC has unanimously voted to allow this agreement to become effective as scheduled on July 23. This decision is based on a determination that the agreement is not likely at this time, by a reduction in competition, to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service under section 6(g) of the Shipping Act.

According to an FMC press release, the so-called Northwest Seaport 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. To help achieve its goals, the agreement authorizes establishment of a port development authority effective Aug. 1 to promote and assist economic development of the Alliance’s marine cargo operations. The PDA will focus on unified business retention and recruitment, coordinated enhancement of the value of marine cargo properties, improved intermodal rail service, improved freight capacities, the general promotion of maritime economic development, and other related port business activity.

The FMC adds that the Alliance represents an effort by two ports that have faced challenges in regional business development and plan to overcome these challenges by jointly coordinating capital investments to enhance facilities in order to attract ever larger vessels.

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