Some Texas Ports Affected by Take-over

Some Texas ports will be affected by the controversial take-over of an international port company. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the P&O Ports Company runs operations out of Houston, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston and Port Arthur. Two of those ports handle military cargo.

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An Arab company could act as the middleman between port officials and the U.S. military at two Texas ports. The Port of Beaumont and the Corpus Christi Port are gateways for much of the Army's military shipping. Right now, British company P&O Ports is in charge of stevedoring for that cargo. But Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates is planning to purchase P&O, which would put them in charge of that business.

Several elected officials have spoken out against the deal, which was approved by the U.S. government. U.S. Congressman Ted Poe says the acquisition is a breach of national security. District 22 Congressional Candidate Nick Lampson says there has to be a better way of building good relations with the UAE than handing over security-sensitive operations to an Arab company. Dubai Ports World is a state-owned company and not a private corporation. But officials at the Port of Houston and the Port of Beaumont say the take-over won't really change the way things are run at the ports.

P&O loads and unloads ships at several terminals in Texas ports and conducts some shipping operations. P&O officials say the management of the company will be the same after the acquisition. And port officials have discretion over who is allowed onto port property. The Department of Homeland Security says all U.S. ports are run by local governments with security provided by the federal government. Dubai Ports World plans to purchase P&O for $6.8 billion. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.

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