Protect Commercial Gateways Say Ports

“We must have the resources to protect both cargo and port facilities," said Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). He called on Congress to take advantage of the current public focus on the contributions U.S. ports make to the economy and strengthen the public-private partnership that would “thwart terrorism at America’s ports.”

Effective port security requires a complex system of technologies, screening, management and common sense, added Susan Monteverde, AAPA government relations vice president. “Primary responsibility for port security rests with the federal government and requires the cooperation of all port-related organizations,” she continued. AAPA supports a thorough intelligence-based and transparent federal government review of foreign mergers, acquisitions and takeovers that impact U.S. port terminals, she added.

As AAPA released its comments and cautions, another foreign takeover of a British port facilities operator with U.S. connections was announced.

A £2.3 billion ($3.98 billion) takeover bid for Associated British Ports (ABP) will be subject to U.S. scrutiny because the company’s Amports group operates U.S.-based port assets. The consortium seeking to take over ABP includes Goldman Sachs International (U.S.), Borealis Infrastructure Management (Canada) and GIC Special Investments (Singapore).

In other news, the port services division of Hutchinson Whampoa announced revenue grew 11% in 2005 to 3.2 billion euros ($3.84 billion). Combined throughput rose 8% to 51.8 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs).

Yantian (China) and Europe Container Terminals (ECT) led growth with respective increases of 21% and 12%. Xiamen International Container Terminals increased throughput 49%. Kelang Multi Terminal in Malaysia was up 14%. And, Panama Ports Container Terminals rose 54%.

Hutchinson has also acquired an 80% interest in a project to build a roll-on/roll-off terminal in Laem Chabang Port, Thailand and formed a joint venture to develop and operate Dalian Ore Terminal.

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