The Seattle and Tacoma port commissions announced Tuesday a plan to unify the management of the two ports' marine cargo terminals and related functions under a single Seaport Alliance.
The Seaport Alliance will manage marine cargo terminal investments and operations, planning and marketing, while the individual port commissions will retain their existing governance structures and ownership of assets.
The move for the state's two largest container ports is a strategic response to the competitive pressures that are reshaping the global shipping industry, a joint announcement said.
Taken together, marine cargo operations at both ports support more than 48,000 jobs across the region and provide a critical gateway for the export of Washington state products to Asia.
"Instead of competing against one another, we are combining our strengths to create the strongest maritime gateway in North America. The Seaport Alliance is the result of our shared commitment to maintaining the economic health of our region through a thriving maritime industry," commented Stephanie Bowman, co-President of the Port of Seattle Commission.
Subject to further FMC review and approval, the two port commissions will enter into an Interlocal Agreement, which is intended to provide the ports with a framework for a period of due diligence to examine the inner workings of both businesses.
During the due diligence period, John Wolfe, Port of Tacoma CEO, and Kurt Beckett, Port of Seattle Deputy CEO, will co-lead the planning work and coordinate with both port commissions.
Commissioners from both ports expect to hold a public meeting next spring to hire Wolfe as the CEO of the Seaport Alliance following the FMC's approval of the agreement.
Following the due diligence period, the two port commissions intend to submit a more detailed agreement for the Seaport Alliance to the FMC by the end of March 2015.
The two commissions expect to formally adopt and move to submit the ILA to the FMC at a joint public meeting Oct. 14.
Source: Port of Seattle