DP World

Dubai Ports World

DP World is a subsidiary of Dubai World, a holding company owned by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

In March 2006, it purchased the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) of the United Kingdom, which was then the fourth largest ports operator in the world, for £3.9 billion ($7 billion), beating a bid from Singapore's PSA International of £3.5 billion. P&O is one of the most famous names in British business, having been the largest shipping operator in the world at one time. DP World has promised to keep P&O's headquarters in London.

DP Terminals was founded in 1999 and DP World was created by a merger between the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) and an international business, DPI Terminals.

Port security controversy

P&O operated major U.S. port facilities in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami. After the deal was secured, the arrangement was reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States headed by the U.S. Treasury Department and including the Departments of State, Commerce, and Homeland Security. It was given the green light, but soon after, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress expressed concern over the potential negative impact the deal would have on port security. They cited the 9/11 Commission report, which stated that two of the 9/11 hijackers were United Arab Emirates nationals, and reports that the UAE was a major financial base for the al Qaeda terror network. The country did not fund al Qaeda but money was transferred through UAE's banks without the government knowing what the money was for (because of privacy concerns). Republican leaders Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist, usually working in close synchronization with the office of the President, came out to publicly question the deal. Frist said in a statement, "If the administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review." Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC) sent a one-sentence letter to the president that read, "Dear Mr. President: In regard to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO — but HELL NO!"

On February 22, 2006, President George W. Bush threatened to veto any legislation passed by Congress to block the deal, which would be the first time in his presidency he would exercise the privilege. In a statement to reporters, Bush claimed, "It would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through." Supporters of the deal claimed that the UAE were friendly to America, as the emirates allow U.S. warships in the Gulf to dock in their ports and re-supply their ships with oil, food and other goods for free. Crew members are allowed shore leave in the country and entertain themselves free in malls and movie theaters.

The controversy has created a public and unusually high-profile dispute within the Republican Party, and between the Republican-controlled Congress and the Republican-controlled White House.

The debate has curiously divided the opposing sides into mixed camps, with the New York Times, Lindsey Graham, The New Republic, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Bill Frist, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Bob Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, John Gibson, Jon Corzine, the New York Post, and Peter T. King opposing it, while the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly supporting it.

On February 23, 2006, DP World volunteered to postpone its takeover of significant operations at the seaports to give the White House more time to convince lawmakers and the public that the deal poses no increased risks from terrorism.

DP World said on March 9, 2006, that it would transfer its operations of American ports to a "U.S. entity" after congressional leaders reportedly told President Bush that the firm's takeover deal was essentially dead on Capitol Hill. According to a report on June 19, 2006, however, Dubai Ports World still owned and controlled operations at 22 U.S. ports.

The United States House of Representatives held a vote on March 16, 2006 on legislation that would have blocked the Dubai Ports World deal, with 348 members voting for blocking the deal, and 71 voting against. The provision to block the deal was a part of a larger bill on emergency supplemental appropriations. The Dubai provision was cut from the final bill passed by the United States Senate and then approved by both houses.

On July 18 2006, U.S. Reps. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) and Walter B. Jones (R-North Carolina) held a press conference claiming that the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement would allow Dubai Ports World and similar firms to set up subsidiaries in Oman, and use the trade agreement's "right of establishment" to lay claim to U.S. ports operations. If Congress attempted to block an Omani-incorporated subsidiary of Dubai Ports World from such a claim, then the company could use the pact's investor rights provisions to demand compensation if the congressional move were not reversed. The same day, the Congressional Research Service issued a report on the matter that, while disputing some aspects of Murtha's claims, did not dispute that Dubai Ports World and other companies could use the Oman trade agreement's provisions to challenge any such U.S. action.

Dubai Ports World eventually sold P&O's American operations to American International Group's asset management division, Global Investment Group for an undisclosed sum.

Gwadar Port

Chairman of Dubai Ports World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who met President Pervez Musharraf on May 5 2006, expressed a strong hope for management of facilities at the strategic Gwadar deep sea port and development of infrastructure in the southern port city and elsewhere in Pakistan.

Locations of Dubai Ports World's operations

Dubai Ports World currently operates several major terminals around the world, with other projects in development. The company additionally has logistics offices in London and the UAE.


  • Djibouti
    • Doraleh Container Terminal - under development
    • Port of Djibouti
  • Mozambique - Maputo Container Terminal at the Port of Maputo
  • Senegal
    • Port du Futur - under development
    • Terminal à Conteneur at the Port of Dakar - under development






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