Upon competitive review and analysis of the Port of Seattle/Port of Tacoma Alliance Agreement, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has voted unanimously to allow the Northwest Seaport Alliance to become effective as scheduled on July 23, 2015.
FMC said its 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.
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. To help achieve its goals, the agreement authorizes establishment of a Port Development Authority (PDA), effective August 1, 2015, 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 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. The alliance’s focus on upgrading its terminal facilities and rail connections is key to furthering its competitive position.
Chairman Cordero commented, "I would like to express my support for the Northwest Seaport Alliance which brings together neighboring ports to coordinate their import and export functions that provide a foundation for our Nation’s foreign oceanborne trade. This Alliance would become the third-largest trade gateway in North America, behind the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the Port of New York
. 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."