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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More Ports in the Storm?

Jim Hamilton at Econbrowser, Ben Muse, and Movie Guy have questions about how Homeland Security tallies ports slated for takeover by DP World:

Homeland Security's curious "fact sheet", by James Hamilton, Econbrowser: Ben Muse and Econbrowser reader Movie Guy ... have been investigating some information disseminated by the Department of Homeland Security that appears to be misleading or inaccurate. Ben Muse was the first to call attention to a ... Department of Homeland Security ... Fact Sheet... This document makes the following statement:

DP World will not, nor will any other terminal operator, control, operate or manage any United States port. DP World will only operate and manage specific, individual terminals located within six ports. ...

Movie Guy noted in comments the apparent inconsistency between this statement from the Department of Homeland Security and this story from UPI dated Feb. 24 which claims that the DP World takeover would involve 21 rather than 6 U.S. ports. ... Movie Guy writes:

I have verified that the sale of P&O to DP World will include the acquisition of ALL existing operations of P&O Ports North America. ... There is no question that the acquisition involves all P&O North America activities and operations on the East Coast and Gulf Coast. Therefore, the acquisition will include the transfer of operations at 22 U.S. ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, not 6 ports as stated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security...

The acquisition will involve, at a minimum, the transfer of P&O North America operations at 55 terminals, not 11 or 16 terminals as stated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Eliminating from consideration the cruise ship terminals .., the number ... is reduced to 49 terminals. DHS has failed to acknowledge the sale and transfer of 39 to 44 of the East Coast and Gulf Coast terminal operations of P&O North America.

Now, I'm wondering what this means. Perhaps ... DHS is drawing a distinction between the kinds of activities performed by P&O in these 22 ports and the activities in the 6 U.S. ports that they highlight. ... Hence there may be an intended interpretation to DHS's use of the phrase "operate and manage specific, individual terminals" for which the press release is technically accurate, though the interpretation that a reader might naturally draw ... could easily be different from the true meaning. Another possibility is that DHS honestly believes that P&O is only involved in the seven ports mentioned in the press release, in which case it would seem to provide ammunition for those claiming that the review of the security issues was less than thorough. Either way, in my opinion it does not reflect well on DHS.

    Posted by on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 01:19 AM in Economics, Terrorism | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (9)


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