Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm getting a job in international shipping.

So who else is not paying enough attention to the port controversy? You know, that Dubai Ports, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates with major responsibilty over, surprisingly, the ports of Dubai, has bought London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., one of the largest shipping companies in the world and currently in charge of port security for six eastern seaboard US ports (see right). So, the UAE, who supplied some of the 9/11 hijackers, wants to do buy the company who secures some of our ports. Hmm.

What's more is that they have ties to Norton Lilly shipping, which also does extensive shipping in the Middle East. Apparently Dubai Ports, through "senior executive" Edward H. Bilkey ("well respected" international shipping exec and former president of Norton Lilly), was bewildered over the security concerns expressed in Congress. Whew, that and the consolling words of our don't-worry-I'll-protect-you-remember-hurricane-Katrina- president takes care of all my worries.

Make sure you check out the Dubai Ports Kid Zone. Fun games with Captain Hamad!

I'm not so worried about terrorism, but who is getting rich (or richer). Shipping is a HUGE industry, and is internationally intertwined in literally everything. One big shipping company (Dubai Ports) is buying another big shipping company (P & O Steam). And here's a shocker: Halliburton (with a prominent, er, government official as former CEO) has several divisions located in Dubai and the UAE, and with a serious vested interest in international shipping. Follow the money, folks.

If you're looking for something to do this weekend in the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune has a great listing of beer-related items to check out, whether you wanna take a trip to New Ulm for Bockfest or saddle up to the Happy Gnome for their amazing beer selection. I also learned of a new brewery in town, Surly Brewing. They have a great story, and seem to have an even better marketing strategy. Look for Furious and Bender on tap at selected bars around town, including the Gnome.

Those are my thoughts for the weekend, as the Olympics come to a close. Congrats to Japan for their first medal in figure skating, even if it meant giving Sasha Cohen a silver. Crazy that she took two spills and still earned a medal. You go girl.


Miri said...

I'm going to say something unpopular.
We all refuse to face the fact that "running the port" is really just running the schedules, work routines and equipement required to bring containers off ships and onto land. Security of our ports is still going to be handled by DHS (and THAT is the scary part).

I think we're seizing on the port security issue because, quite frankly, hearing a large foreign company buying up large stakes in American business makes us itchy....a large foreign arab country makes us crazy.

The rest of the world has had to endure US businesses (and to them, many of us are worse than arabs)coming in with money and buying up stakes. Certain US countries actually RUN villages in parts of the world (gotta have my nikes).

So maybe all this press is really not so much about security (i'd never even heard about the other ports they run--and it woulda' come out after 9/11 if there were security reports) I think it's another distraction--to stoke nationalism and cut down the globalization of the economy (which will raise up other coutries to our playing field and probably cut us down a notch). Kinda like the distraction from the war (Gay people want to get married!)

Eric said...

Oh absolutely. As I said, I am more concerned about who is getting rich over this, and the monopolization of the shipping industry. But it does linger in the back of my mind that what if there is some secret plot for the UAE (or some country) to control the majority of the worlds ports to launch a major attack. Unlikely tho, because really this is all about money--Arabs are human too, and they want to get rich just like the rest of us.

CT said...

I don't like Dubai because they have nicer cars than I do. That's the only problem I have with this whole affair.