- The South Florida Container Terminal and the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company have reached an agreement that has subsequently been approved by the Federal Maritime Commission, American Shipper reported last week.
- Under the new agreement, the two terminals have permission to share practices, rates, and rules, and to establish regular meetings when such matters will be discussed.
- Other similar recent agreements include the 2015 Northwest Seaport Alliance involving Washington state ports in Seattle and Tacoma.
As the transport shipping industry faces consolidation and partnership, so do the ports that serve it.
Fewer carriers, thanks to bankruptcies and other factors, are likely to reduce the traffic for a number of popular ports. This industry adjustment will have the dual effect of both requiring successful ports to continue to increase amenities and upgrades, such as easy connections to railroads, trucking routes, and even airports, while at the same time as the number of vessels visiting each port diminishes, ports' ability to financially sustain itself, let alone make improvements and maintain safety will become more difficult. Agreements which allow for the sharing of large-scale equipment will hopefully prolong the life of many struggling ports.
In addition, many ports are facing pressure not only from an industry contraction, but also from nearby communities concerned about the impact of ports on their local environment. While the kinds of improvements requested are both healthy and forward-thinking, they are also expensive, and require investment that many ports are simply unable to support at present.
2017 will be a crucial year for many ports. Those that are able to survive the industry changes could surprise us.