I would like to weigh in on the ongoing debate on whether it is appropriate for the United States to allow her ports to be managed by a company based in Dubai.
Due to the worldwide nature of the shipping and ship business, the maritime industry experienced “globalization” many years ago.
It is not uncommon for a ship to be owned by a Taiwanese company, registered in Panama, crewed by People’s Republic of China sailors and call on ports throughout the world.
Of course, when the United States is at war with terrorists in the Middle East region, it comes as a shock to the general public that a deal to manage our ports could even be contemplated with the United Arab Emirates.
However to people familiar with the maritime industry, such a deal is not suprising.
We have many examples, even here in Hawaii of maritime terminals and companies operated by foreign entities. Big Five icon Theo H. Davies (THD) was a wholly owned subsidiary of Jardine Mathieson, Ltd of Hong Kong.
Jardine purchased Theo Davies in 1973, while THD was operating sugar terminals in Hawaii and was the largest ship agent in the state. Currently, our homeported Norwegian Cruise Line ships belong to a US subsidiary of Star Cruises, based in Singapore.
In the unlikely event of a war with these Asian countries, the difficulty of untangling our local connections would be daunting. And we wouldn’t want to.
The move by Dubai Port World to agree to a further in-depth inquiry into their purchase of the US port management business is a positive move.
The further agreeement to form a U.S. subsidiary is also wise. President Bush’s administration should take this opportunity to conduct a thorough inquiry and reassure the public that this transaction poses no security risk for U.S. shipping or the public. In my view, it probably does not.
”’Rep. Anne V. Stevens is a Republican who represents the districts of Ala Moana, Kakaako, Waikiki, and is a 22 year veteran of the maritime industry, who served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and in private industry as a manager of a steamship agency here in Hawaii.”’
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