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Ship Carriers To Remain in NY, NJ

May 8, 1999

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Two of the world’s largest shipping lines have decided to stay in the New York-New Jersey harbor _ a move that may help solve a nasty feud that still threatens the port’s future.

Ending a yearlong saga, Sea-Land Service and Maersk announced Friday that economic reasons would keep them in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The giant shipping companies solicited proposals from other East Coast cities, including Baltimore and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Maersk President Tommy Thomsen also cited Gov. Christie Whitman’s last-minute offer of $120 million in state funding to reimburse the shippers as crucial to the decision.

Whitman and New York Gov. George E. Pataki have been at odds over the way that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the harbor, funds projects in each state.

Pataki thinks New York subsidizes money-losing ventures in New Jersey, while the agency puts more money into New Jersey.

Pataki said last month he will not support a new lease with the carriers until Whitman agrees to restructure the agency so that the states no longer share revenues. The governors, both moderate Republicans, control the agency and can veto any lease approved by authority commissioners.

Whitman has said she will not agree to restructure the agency until the shipping carriers’ deal is approved, a process likely to take months.

The feud had put most other business at the agency on hold, including $1.7 billion in expansion projects at Newark and New York airports.

After the carriers announced their decision, commissioners appointed by both governors said the states would try to work out their differences.

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