The interlocal agreement (ILA) the U.S. ports of Seattle and Tacoma submitted in October to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for permission to undertake the due diligence necessary to form a Seaport Alliance took effect Monday, December 1.
The ILA, which was subject to a 45-day review and approval period, provides a framework to examine business objectives, strategic marine terminal investments, financial returns, performance metrics, organizational structure, communications and public engagement. With the 45-day review period ended, the due diligence work will occur over the next few months.
Following the due diligence period, the two port commissions intend to submit to the FMC by around the end of March 2015 a more detailed agreement to form the Seaport Alliance.
Back in October, the Seattle and Tacoma port commissions revealed their plan to unify the management of the two ports’ marine cargo terminals and related functions under a single Seaport Alliance in order to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo for the region.
According to the plan, the Seaport Alliance would manage marine cargo terminal investments and operations, planning and marketing, while the individual port commissions would retain their existing governance structures and ownership of assets. The two ports together would form the third-largest container gateway in North America.