Court OKs AML-Northland Services Shipping Merger

An Anchorage superior court judge has approved a deal allowing Lynden Inc. to buy out its shipping competitor, Northland Services.

Right now, there are basically two ways to ship a lot of stuff in and out of Southeast Alaska: Alaska Marine Lines or Northland Services.

So when Lynden, AML’s parent company, announced in April it was buying its competitor, the risk of a regional shipping monopoly raised a red flag at the Alaska Department of Law.

The department put together a deal that leaves Southeast Alaska with two competing carriers: AML and the soon-to-expand Samson Tug & Barge.

The plan requires AML to assist Samson with its 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.

A 60-day comment period closed last week with no formal objections. Judge Andrew Guidi approved the deal on Monday.

Samson Vice President Cory Baggen says she’s excited about clearing the last major legal hurdle in her company’s expansion.

“Right now, our tentative plan is to start service into Southeast Alaska on November 8th,” she said. “I admit, we’re still working out some of the final details, since the decree did just go through on Monday. So we’re still working through some of the last, last minute details.”

The buyout may not change much in Southeast, but AML President Kevin Anderson has said it will help his company in western Alaska and Seattle.

The parties have 60 days to finalize and execute some contracts in the plan. But otherwise, Assistant Attorney General Ed Sniffen says the transaction is complete.