Southeast shipping merger proposal released

A proposed marine shipping buyout of Northland Services by Lynden Inc. is one step closer to approval.

A tug boat hauls a barge laden with containers down Gastineau Channel in August 2012. (Photo by Heather Bryant/ KTOO)

Though the two companies have third party competition elsewhere, Northland and Lynden subsidiary Alaska Marine Lines handle virtually all commercial marine shipping in Southeast. If they merged as-is, Lynden would have an illegal monopoly in Southeast, according to the Department of Law.

The department’s lawyers have  filed a plan in court that would leave Southeast Alaska with two competing carriers, but their operations would be intertwined.

The plan requires AML to assist Sitka-based Samson Tug and Barge with an expansion into Southeast. The specifics are confidential, but Samson would buy assets from AML, lease space aboard AML barges, have a guaranteed barge charter from AML during peak shipping seasons, and have the option to rent AML terminal facilities and storage in Southeast and in Seattle.

The filing opened a comment period that ends Sept. 27. After that, a superior court judge in Anchorage must decide if the deal can go forward.

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