Port of Portland: US should ditch cabotage

Portland: The US, shorn of any major carrier, should ditch its cabotage laws, says the head of a leading American port in today’s Maritime CEO interview. Bill Wyatt, executive director at the Pacific northwest port, maintains: “While it may be controversial, I also believe that a country which, for the most part, does not have a player in the global carrier industry, no longer has a need for cabotage laws.” He adds: “I believe that port facilities could be more readily harmonized by rethinking cabotage.” 
Wyatt, shooting from the hip, says ports in the US could learn a lot from their airport cousins, and that port development in the country is “very haphazard”, often creating competition, which doesn’t necessarily promote the overall end goal of improving and facilitating trade. 
Airports operate much more in partnership with other elements of the industry and there is a framework for constructing and expanding facilities with a much clearer understanding about who pays for what, Wyatt explains.
“Furthermore,” Wyatt adds, “airports, with some exceptions, are prohibited from subsidizing airlines, which means that the end consumer ultimately bears the cost, as it should be.”
The port of Portland is in discussions with the local government to annex a nearby island for a bulk port development. Were it happen it would be the first new terminal at the port for 40 years.  [13/11/13]

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