What is it, actually, that Dubai Ports World gets when it buys P&O?
At Newsday CHANG QIAN GUAN AND SHMUEL YAHALOM explain port management and the role of firms that lease terminals: Dubai Ports World needs to tell all . A dispassionate, technical explanation with an editorial point in the last paragraph.
The Department of Homeland Security website describes the facilities at stake in the Dubai Ports World deal: Fact Sheet: Securing U.S. Ports
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.
- The recent business transaction taken by DP World, a United Arab Emirates based company, to acquire British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) does not change the operations or security of keeping our nation’s ports safe. The people working on the docks also will not change as a result of this transaction.
- This transaction is not an issue of controlling United States’ ports. It is an issue of operating some terminals within U.S. ports.
- DP World will operate at the following terminals within the six United States’ ports currently operated by the United Kingdom company, P & O:
o Baltimore - 2 of 14 total
o Philadelphia - 1 of 5 (does not include the 1 cruise vessel terminal)
o Miami - 1 of 3 (does not include the 7 cruise vessel terminals)
o New Orleans - 2 of 5 (does not include the numerous chemical plant terminals up and down the Mississippi River, up to Baton Rouge)
o Houston – 4 of 12 (P&O work alongside other stevedoring* contractors at the terminals)
o Newark/Elizabeth – 1 of 4
o (Note: also in Norfolk - Involved with stevedoring activities at all 5 terminals, but not managing a specific terminal.)
*Stevedoring – provides labor, carries physical loading and unloading of cargo.
It's not clear from this how large the terminals being acquired are compared to the others in the different ports.
MORE: James Hamilton - in the comments - points to this UPI story suggesting that the DPW purchase involves more terminals than described above. Link to the story through his comment, but here is a key paragraph:
P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site. (Pamela Hess, UPI,Feb 24)
Here is the P&O Ports web site: P&O Ports . Here is a map from the site of their North American container terminal operations: Global Container Terminal Operations . Their web site also indicates that they provide stevedoring services in a number of U.S. East Coast and Gulf ports, and possibly in the Pacific NW. That may be the source of the larger figure cited in the UPI story? The map showing the regions in which they provide the stevedoring services can be accessed from the container terminal map linked above.
Update 2-28: this map appears to be out of date. I've provided more information in a new post: What does "P&O Ports North America" do in the U.S.?
Simon Romero and Heather Timmons point out that most port management services in the U.S. are conducted by foreign firms, and explain why: U.S. companies weighed anchor on ports years ago. (International Herald Tribune, Feb 24)
Revised: updated 2-28 with note from James Hamilton, and link to P&O web site.