More On The Docks
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: Islamophobia, United Arab Emirates, Ports, Congress, Bush, Charles Schumer, Levin, Port Authority DP World,New York Times, Washington Post,Baltimore
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.