Four Canadian ports said Wednesday their share of U.S.-bound containerized cargo has dropped in the last decade, contrary to the claims of members of Congress and U.S. West Coast ports that spurred a Federal Maritime Commission inquiry.
The ports of Prince Rupert, Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal told the Federal Maritime Commission that in 2010 their share of U.S.-bound containers was 2.5 percent in 2010, down from 3.2 percent in 2000. In contrast, U.S. ports handle more than 8 percent of the containers destined for Canada.
The statement was part of the ports’ comments for an FMC inquiry about the economic factors that would make shippers choose a Canadian port over a U.S. port.
The commission launched the inquiry in November at the request of members of the Washington state congressional delegation. West Coast ports complained that the imposition of the Harbor Maintenance Tax on imported goods diverts cargo to Canada.
Canadian officials expressed outrage, saying a proposal to collect the HMT on U.S. containers at the border would create new trade barriers just as the two countries were about to announce measures to streamline commerce at the border.
The FMC extended the comment period for the inquiry to Jan. 9.