Statement of the Port of Virginia: February 23, 2006
This is actually very reassuring to know. The state controls the port terminals in Virginia instead of renting them out:
Dubai Ports World (DP) a United Arab Emirates (UAE) state-owned company’s purchase of Peninsular and Oriental (P&O), a British company, has intensified the national discussion on ownership, operations and security at our nation’s ports. As demonstrated in the paragraphs below, DP’s purchase of P&O would not increase the security risk at The Port of Virginia.
To fully understand the implications of this purchase and its effect on port security in Virginia, one must first recognize the difference between a stevedore and a terminal operator, and understand how The Port of Virginia operates.
Terminal operators have access to all information contained in manifests, shipping records and bills of lading and control the movement of cargo through the marine terminal. Terminal operators are generally responsible for cargo from the time it enters the country until it is cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and released to a trucking or rail company to leave the terminal. DP (P&O) will have terminal operations in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans.
The ports where DP (P&O) would control terminal operations are “landlord” ports. These ports lease land to a terminal operator which runs the terminal with little or no oversight from the authority.
Stevedoring companies generally load and unload cargo from ship-to-shore. Stevedoring companies are responsible for the movement of cargo around the interior of a marine terminal, but are not part of the transfer of cargo to outside trucking or rail companies. In some cases stevedoring companies may expand their services and provide complete terminal operations, in these cases they are also terminal operators. DP (P&O) will have stevedoring operations in Portland, ME; Boston; New York/New Jersey; Philadelphia; Wilmington, NC; Baltimore; Miami; and most Gulf coast ports from Freeport, Texas to New Orleans. In Virginia, P&O has a 50 percent ownership interest in CP&O, LLC, a stevedoring company. That ownership interest would transfer to DP. At The Port of Virginia, CP&O handles cargo but does not manage any portion of the port operations or data from VIT’s information systems.
Virginia is unique in the U.S. port industry. As a state agency, VPA owns the marine terminals and operates the terminals through Virginia International Terminals (VIT), a private, non-stock state corporation under the control of VPA. VIT controls the movement of cargo from the docks and through the gates. In addition to the control of cargo movement provided by VIT, VPA provides security at the facilities through the use of a state certified Police Department. These stabilizing conditions continue regardless of future changes in ownership of privately held maritime businesses.