Mark Szakonyi, March 11, 2014, Journal of Commerce
The ports of Seattle and Tacoma can each gather information on their operations, facilities and rates, and share the data with the other after the Federal Maritime Commission unanimously approved the discussion agreement last week.
The request to share information comes as the Pacific Northwest ports face increased competition from their U.S. and Canadian counterparts on the West Coast. The duo is also grappling with excess terminal capacity caused by operation efficiencies, automation and consolidation of older terminals into newer and more efficient facilities.
“Our ports need to compete on an international level and keep providing good paying jobs,” said FMC Commissioner William Doyle yesterday, according to prepared remarks. “I hope this agreement helps the ports of Seattle and Tacoma figure out their best options for the future.”
The agreement will allow Seattle and Tacoma port officials to discuss possible efficiency measures such as the sharing of the facilities, and financial matters such as port charges. Seattle and Tacoma previously stressed “that a change in governance, such as a merger, will not be part of this discussion and no subsequent outcomes are presupposed.”