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US FMC considers response to Port of Prince Rupert

The Federal Maritime Commission is considering what response it should take in light of the rapid expansion of the Canadian port of Prince Rupert, BC, according to the Globe and Mail.

The port, located in Northwestern British Columbia not far from the Alaskan border,  has nearly doubled its cargo volumes in recent years following a substantial investment in the port facility and its rail links. As a result of investments totalling nearly $3.5 billion, according to port authorities, trans-pacific cargo can reach Chicago both more cheaply and more quickly through Prince Rupert than Los Angeles.

FMC Chair Richard Ledinsky has not discounted the competitive argument, but has suggested that lower taxes, goverment subsidies, and less cargo security screening may be giving the northern port an unfair trade advantage.

Canadian authorities counter that this is a tempest in a teapot: the port has doubled its share from 1% to 2% of west coast container traffic, hardly posing a threat to the big players.

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