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Port of Seattle brags about keeping former Port of Tacoma customer

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on July 18, 2012 at 10:38 am |
July 18, 2012 11:11 am

The Port of Seattle today is bragging about a renewed agreement that will keep former Port of Tacoma containership customer Maersk Line calling in the Emerald City.

The Seattle port’s press release is part of the growing competition between the two ports for containership line customers.

“This is great news for the Port of Seattle,” said Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle CEO in the press release. “SSA’s T-18 is big ship ready—they’ve made the investments in six new container cranes capable of handling the largest ships in world. This cargo volume means jobs will be staying here.”

The re-signing of Maersk comes three weeks after three shipping lines moved their operations from Seattle’s Terminal 18 to Tacoma’s Washington United Terminals. Those shipping lines, NYK, OOCL and Hapag-Lloyd, are part of a partnership called the Grand Alliance that share shipping capacity between Asia and the West Coast.

Along with that new Asian business, the Grand Alliance also brought new connections between the Mediterranean and the South Pacific to Tacoma.

That shift in Puget Sound ports of call is expected to enhance the Port of Tacoma’s container traffic by some 450,000 container units a year and decrease Seattle’s by the same number.

Maersk Line was the Port of Tacoma’s biggest containership client until three years ago when it shifted its business to the Port of Seattle. That shift was caused by Maersk’s new alliance with French containership line CMA-CGM. CMA-CGM was already calling at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18.

The Port of Tacoma reportedly had been hoping to entice Maersk to return here, but the Port of Seattle and its terminal operator, SSA, convinced the two shipping lines to remain in Seattle.

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