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House Agrees To Vote On Ports
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) has been shopping around a compromise requiring DP World to team with a U.S. partner, which would have complete control of operations at the company's holdings at the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans.
But lawmakers from both parties suggested they could not accept that. Hunter said employees and management would remain obedient to the company's owners, no matter how walled off from operations those owners are. "It's difficult to come to the conclusion that security can be absolute and ownership can be irrelevant," he said.
Even King questioned whether it would be workable. If DP World were guaranteed a percentage of the profits from its U.S. holdings, it would have to have access to financial records that King wants to deny the company. Instead, King said, DP World would have to receive a flat annual sum from those operations, a contract that may be impossible to write.
DP World officials were similarly noncommittal.
"We appreciate the comments and suggestion of the congressman, among many other congressmen and people from the White House also, as well as the senators," Sultan Bin Sulayem, Dubai Ports World's chairman, told CNN. "This 45 days that we have volunteered for review is a good chance for all of us, I think. And I think by the end of this, they will realize that there is no fear, no worry about security."
DP World officials suggested yesterday that within days, Peninsular & Oriental's operations will belong to them, no matter what Congress does.
Staff writer Paul Blustein contributed to this report.