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Sunday, February 26, 2006

More On The Docks

There is some more good reading, and background in the papers today on the Dubai Ports World deal.

The first, "Response to Port Deal Faulted" has some very good information on Committee for Foriegn Investment in the US (CFIUS), and how they operate. The reporters missed on a few things in it that were addressed in the Sentate hearings last week, but overall it gives a good look at the process. The only real issues I had with the article was it's reference to this deal being in the 'trade press' since October, as I pointed out earlier, it was also in the BBC Business News, and New York Times. It also lays all blame for misjudging congressional and public reaction on the White House. As I said yesterday, CNOC's floating of an idea to buy UNOCAL was enough to cause congress to react on it's own.

The second article, "At Port of Baltimore, Debate Hits The Docks" explains very well how longshoremen are hired, and checked for working on the docks, and how the union process works to get labor to the waterfront. It also points out something that keeps getting missed in much of the media, P&O and DPW are operators of terminals, not ports.

In "Homeland Security Protested Ports Deal", initial objections to the deal by DHS are laid out, and the compromises that DPW made to gain their approval are discussed, along with bloviating by Senators and Gov. Corzine of New Jersey.

I also caught a Baltimore Sun article (which I can't find now, of course) where the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley made the statement that DPW would "have access to every ships manifest in Baltimore Harbor". The Mayor needs to do some research on that issue. Only the terminal operator who is receiving the ship, and US Customs get complete manifests from ships. Other operators get partials, with the container numbers that will be loaded on to their ships for forwarding.

As I read the three articles something came to my mind, why didn't the Port Authorities bring up problems with this takeover bid earlier? I would imagine that the folks who run the ports for the States of New York, Maryland, Florida, Louisiana read the trade papers and knew this was coming.

In fact, I can't imagine that they weren't notified by P&O that there were bids being solicited for them once word got to the press about it. Yet they were silent as crickets on the deals, and actually still are for the most part.

If you read the papers and see who's talking about cancelling terminal deals with P&O to prevent DPW from operating in them, it's not the Port Authorities, it's Governors, and other politicians.

Which brings us back to the whole hulabaloo over this deal. The professionals who run the ports haven't been expressing issues with it, the politically insulated folks in DC who run CFIUS don't have a problem with it, but the folks who are running for reelection do.

So is this really a national security issue, or just a political football painted up as one?

Opinion Journal has an excellent piece on Protectionist's using national security as their new cover.

farfromgruvin has some insight from Oliver North on his blog about this deal. He appears to be another person who found the facts, and realized this was much ado about nothing.

UPDATE: DPW has now requested that CFIUS do a 45 day investigation to ease congressional concerns. My question is if CFIUS still finds nothing to worry about, then what will the doubters say? My guess is at that point it becomes a "Bush's appointees sold us out" arguement. Either way, the political insulation that is (by congresses doing) supposed to be around CFIUS has been removed.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,, ,

CORRECTION: In a post a few days ago I mentioned Hanjin lines as a Chinese carrier, they are in fact South Korean. COSCO is the major Chinese shipper operating on the US West Coast, and mostly controlled by the government of China.

9Comments:

Blogger Steven Tucker said...

Just our politicians treating us, the public, like idiot children. It's funny though, I was just commenting on another blog, asking whether or not their treating us like idiot children was just or not. I guess we'll find out.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

No Steven, it's not just to treat us like idiots. Unfortunately we have enough who act like idiots that I can see where the pols get the idea.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Question for you:

How do you come up with those technorati tags & what is the deal with tracbacks? When you linked to me in your abortion post it showed up as a trackback on mine. But when other people link me it shows up under links not trackbacks.

Thanks!!

6:17 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I've finally become convinced this isn't the "issue" as purported by the politicians. Who convinced me? The politicians! The level of disinformation or ignorance shown by the Reps, Senators and Governors is reprehensible. Is it too much to expect these elected officials to at the very minimum know what they are talking about - example saying "managing our ports" vs management of terminals? The Dem's using this to "scare" the public for gain again shows us they aren't serious about protecting the country. It's all about power and control, as with Hillary and her ilk, whatever it takes to win is justifiable. I've already tuned out of the talking bobbleheads on cable news.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

Answer: "A political football painted"

This mess got started here in our liberal area w/ the Miami lawsuit. My biggest issue is the War on Terror...I guess listening to it for about 3 weeks now...from both sides...It is not what the MSM and several politicians jumped to have you believe.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Toni and Suzie, tonight you can read in the papers how the Coast Guard had "security concerns" about the deal.

Two of the three papers I read it in gave the fact that those were cleared up by DPW two sentences or less. The third gave it a whole paragraph out of 15 in the article.

And all still insist on saying "running port operations".

7:56 PM  
Blogger ablur said...

We need to stop paying other people to take care of our borders. No matter it be ports or land crossings, these are our borders and they should be taken care of by Americans with a vested interest in protecting themselves and their country. This has nothing to do with Arab and everything to do with foreign interests.
In a similar vain, we are paying Mexico to watch their own border. What kind of nut case approved this. American dollars flowing in to Mexico via illegal workers is one of Mexico's biggest cash cows. They have no interest in cutting this off. In fact they take every advantage of the situation.
We need to seriously consider what we value as a nation and if we think it is worth protecting. It looks to me like we will sell anything for a buck.

For those of you who want to grab onto the business only issue and nothing to do with security stuff. May I remind you that these are still an entry point or a border. No matter what the level of involvement the answer is still NO. We need to take care of the borders ourselves.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Ablur, It's a nice thougth on ports, maybe we could forbid any foreign flagged carriers from doing business in the US. Of course, there'd be no shipping to our country then. Our own tax & wage structure makes it unprofitable to do business as a US carrier.

The fact that the cargo carriers don't do the inspections on the cargo seems to be escaping a lot of folks. The Customs Service does that.

And yes, the border does need a lot of work.

4:25 AM  
Blogger ablur said...

We seem to forget that these are ports of entry. The reason we need security is because we have foreign ships coming into port. These are not blind statements.

What do you say we have China manage our military barracks? They are uniquely qualified to manage tight/close proximity housing. They wouldn't have any say over what our military does they would simply see to it that our barracks run efficiently. They will make sure that the minimum amount of space per person is achieved with the most possible amenities given the space constraints.
Perhaps we should hire Russian firms to manage our ski resorts? I mean what do we really know about snow? Perhaps the Lybians could manage our arid land areas? With the Sahara as their proving ground they would be uniquely qualified.
We need to stop sniffing after the dollar and look at what our country needs to survive.

8:18 AM  

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