The port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma voted unanimously Tuesday to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance, unifying the longtime rivals’ marine cargo divisions.

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The port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma voted unanimously Tuesday to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance, unifying the longtime rivals’ marine cargo divisions.

Both ports have faced increased pressure from British Columbia and Southern California, losing market share in the container business. The Seaport Alliance is an effort for the ports to keep their operations competitive.

“We have moved from fierce competitors to bold collaborators,” Port of Tacoma commission president Don Johnson said in a statement. “We recognize how critical the maritime industry is to our state’s economy, and we are proud and excited to strengthen it even more.”

While the ports remain separate organizations and retain ownership of their respective assets, they formed a port development authority to manage the container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in Seattle and Tacoma.

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The alliance doesn’t include the airport; cruise business; marinas, such as Fisherman’s Terminal; grain terminals and industrial real estate.

The commissioners also approved hiring John Wolfe, current Port of Tacoma chief executive officer, as the CEO of the alliance. Wolfe will lead both organizations through a transition period of up to five years.