March 9, 2006

Dubai Ports World to Give Up US Port Management After Recommendation From Senator Bill Frist

by @ 5:13 pm. Filed under Questionable Items, Unions Destroying America

Realizing that there was not enough support in Congress and that it could hurt his party in the November elections, Senator Bill Frist asked Dubai Ports World to give up it’s stake in US port management. The United Arab Emirates owned company has agreed to do so. They will transfer operations to a US based company. They only wish to do the transfer in an orderly fashion, that will not cause them financial damage. I think this is a good thing. At first Senator Frist was trying to stop efforts to totally block the deal while the 45 day review process was taking place. But he realized that pressure to end the deal was too great.

Dubai Company to Give Up Stake in U.S. Ports Deal

WASHINGTON ? A United Arab Emirates-owned company said Thursday it would give up its management stake in a controversial ports deal that has taken Washington by storm and has caused massive upheaval in the president’s own party.

The Thursday announcement came just hours after Republican leaders warned President Bush that the House and Senate appeared ready to block Dubai Ports World from taking over some terminal operations at six U.S. ports.

“Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship, DP World has decided to transfer fully the U.S. operation of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity,” DP World’s chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, said in a statement, read on the Senate floor by Sen. John Warner, R-Va.

The company said its decision was “based on an understanding that DP World will have time to affect the transfer in an orderly fashion and that DP World will not suffer economic loss.”

“This should make the whole issue go away,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, holding up a copy of the DP World press release that announced the U.S. ports concession.

A senior Frist aide told FOX News that the Senate majority leader and his staff informed DP World and UAE government officials Wednesday night to pull the plug on the deal. When asked what prompted this action from Frist, the aide said the House action Wednesday night created a “destabilized coalition among House and Senate GOP.”

Just one night before, GOP-led House Appropriations Committee passed a bill blocking the deal. Bush has vowed to veto any measure halting the deal.

By attaching it to a larger must-pass $91 billion spending bill, lawmakers are challenging Bush: If he follows through on his veto threat, he would also be vetoing the entire package.

It was good that Senator Frist was able to see that the US portion of this deal needed to be ended. And it was not a big part of the total deal at all.

The deal in question, however, focused primarily on lucrative Asian markets. DP World valued its rival’s American operations at less than 10 percent of the nearly $7 billion total purchase.

Now there are still some outstanding issues. So sorry Senator Frist, the “whole issue” is not going away. Just part of it is going away. Because we all can respect giving Dubai Ports World time to transfer operations to a US based entity. But the greater issue of foreign governments trying to manage US ports still needs to be address.

Democrats are pushing an amendment to lobbying reform legislation to ensure that no UAE-related company has any control over U.S. port operations, particularly since so few details of the latest DP World plan is known. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would not only block the Dubai deal, but also other U.S. ports deal with any company wholly owned or controlled by any foreign government that recognized the Taliban in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

I don’t support “Chucky” Schumer, but I do support his bill in this regard. And I wish an effort to transition all US port management away from foreign governments would begin. (That at the very least, with the optimal solution being that all ports are managed by entities within the USA.)

Now that the UAE owned company is willing to transfer operations to a US based entity, there is the issue of that US based entity being profitable! The demands of Unions helped push US companies out of the port management business. It is time to allow US companies to profitably manage our ports and that starts by getting rid of the Unions. Something “Chucky” Schumer is against. But it will look pretty bad if no US company is capable or willing to pick up management of these ports, given they might not be able to do it and be profitable. It’s time for US ports to be upgraded with the latest technology and salaries of workers to be adjusted if needed. That will only happen when the Unions at our ports are done away with.

One Response to “Dubai Ports World to Give Up US Port Management After Recommendation From Senator Bill Frist”

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