Seattle and Tacoma will soon become America’s third-largest container gateway after receiving approval for a marketing and operations alliance from US regulators.
The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) voted unanimously on 22 July to allow the Port of Seattle-Port of Tacoma Alliance Agreement to become effective on 23 July.
The agreement, which authorises the ports to meet and discuss how to manage, operate, and market their marine cargo business, is meant to help them defend against fierce competition from other major US west coast ports as well as the effects of vessel sharing alliances.
“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 US Midwest. This alliance will help the region remain competitive into the future,” said FMC chairman Mario Cordero.
The Port of Seattle, which is in Puget Sound about 30 km north from the Port of Tacoma, was stung by a 2012 decision by Grand Alliance liner partners OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd, and NYK to shift operations to Tacoma.
More recently, however, the two ports have benefited from cargo rerouted from other west coast ports that were struggling from congestion caused by management-dockworker disputes earlier this year, particularly at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the US’s largest box terminal complex.
Container volumes through Puget Sound gateway this June increased 14% on June 2014. The gateway handled about 1.8 million teu in 1H15, up 3% from last year.