Puerto Rico terminal joint venture stays the course

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) said an amendment to a joint venture agreement between two marine terminals at the Port of San Juan in Puerto Rico will become effective today.

The FMC did not stand in the way of the formation in late August 2019 of the 50/50 joint venture between Luis Ayala Colon and Puerto Rico Terminals to form Puerto Nuevo Terminals (PNT), a affiliate of TOTE Maritime, despite competition concerns by some commission members.

However, the maritime regulator said it would closely monitor the joint venture’s implementation to ensure it does not violate the Shipping Act.

On April 3, 2020, PNT filed an amendment to its original agreement with the FMC clarifying that the two terminals working together does not constitute a merger or acquisition. PNT’s role will be to operate as a “joint shared terminal management entity” and an agent for Luis Ayala Colon and Puerto Rico Terminals.

With the formation of the joint venture, PNT and Crowley are now the only two container terminal operators in San Juan. This action stoked concern among the commission about competition constraints.

The two terminals operating PNT said in a joint statement last August the agreement will allow them to “more efficiently leverage existing assets, as well as planned, private investments in infrastructure and technology to better serve carriers, shippers, truck drivers and other port users.” The action will also provide “significant benefits to Puerto Rico’s consumers and businesses,” PNT said.