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Port Security: Remember to Breathe

There remains much hyperventilation over the UAE DP World acquisition of P & O Steam Navigation and its existing contract to manage port operations in the United States. If you are among those completely flabergasted at the appearance, breathe. Look at the issue logically and deeper than the surface and emotional association. Later today, I will offer a commentary explaining my position and illustrating the logical points that this opinion is based upon. Until then, the Port Security, Maritime Security, and Homeland Security Blog offers some of those points today with Issues to Consider about the Dubai Ports Deal, highlighting Keith Porter at About.com.

These ports have been operated by foreign companies for quite some time. The company that runs them now (P&O) is British (a great American friend). The company buying P&O is part of the United Arab Emirates (also a great American friend).

While I would not equate the UAE with Britain in terms of trust and friendship, the point remains valid.


DP World has a policy against hiring Israelis. This is understandable since the UAE advocates the destruction of Israel. The USA of course defends the right of Israel to exist. I guess this is a example of when two friends agree to disagree

What does "operating a port" mean? Do they schedule and prioritize dock use? Do they hire management and staff? Do they negotiate contracts with the longshhoremen's union? Do they own the physical port facilities? The controversy is now being couched about the 'ownership' issue, not about operations issues. If a port is anything like a commercial airport, 'ownership' means nothing, control of operations means everything.