Speculation begins about which U.S. entity will operate ports

| Friday, March 10, 2006

Just one day after Sen. John Warner, R-VA, announced on the Senate floor that Dubai Ports World would give up operational control of its U.S. port operations to “a U.S. entity,” everyone is still wondering just who that entity might be.

The Washington Times reported on Friday, March 10, that the short list might be down to just two companies.

The Times quoted Peter Shaerf, managing director of merchant banking firm AMA Capital Partners LLC of New York as saying that SSA Marine and Maher Terminals are the two most likely candidates.

“There are only a couple of obvious suspects in the U.S. stevedoring industry,” he said.

SSA Marine is a privately held company based in Seattle and is the largest U.S. operator of terminals, according to The Times. Maher Terminals, based in Berkeley Heights, NJ, is also privately owned and operates the biggest terminal at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Dubai Ports World made the announcement that it would sell off control of the U.S. ports after weeks of controversy surrounding its takeover of the London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. The takeover would have given Dubai Ports World, which is owned by the United Arab Emirates, control over operations at 21 U.S. ports.

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