Canadian ports likely don't pose threat to U.S. counterparts, as 2.5% of American-bound cargo was imported via Canadian ports over 10-year period, says U.S. Federal Maritime Commission

WASHINGTON , June 8, 2012 () – A commissioner on a U.S. agency probing whether Canadian West Coast ports are luring lucrative cargo business away from their American counterparts says the problem may be minimal.

Rebecca Dye told a conference in Washington that Canadian officials have told the Federal Maritime Commission that 2.5 per cent of American-bound cargo was imported via Canadian ports over a 10 year period.

Dye didn't indicate when the commission would complete its investigation and deliver its findings to the U.S. Congress.

The matter has been a simmering trade irritant since a pair of senators from Washington state accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing the diversion of cargo ships away from their American competitors.

They singled out Prince Rupert, B.C.

Andrew Mayer of the Prince Rupert Port Authority was also at yesterday's conference, which was on the Canada-U.S. relationship with China.

He says cost is not a major motivation behind shippers' deciding to go through Prince Rupert -- speed, reliability and efficiency are bigger factors.

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