An interesting fact: if DP World buys P&O, the Dubai-based company will take over port operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle, in addition to its current operations in Adelaide – five of the top seven Australian ports ranked by value of trade.
Australia understands the al-Qaeda threat as well as any other nation due to the Bali bombing in 2002. So why not even a peep of concern in the Australian media or political establishment about this deal from a security perspective?
Update (2/22): From a story in the The Australian newspaper:
But despite the deepening political row in the US, a spokesman for the Transport Minister Warren Truss said yesterday the Howard Government had no concerns about DP World expanding its presence in Australia.
“DP World are world leaders in what they do and they would be welcome players in Australian ports,” Mr Truss’s spokesman said last night.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told The Australian he had “no concerns” about DP World operating terminals in Australia providing they cleared the necessary hurdles on foreign ownership.
Labor’s transport spokesman Kerry O’Brien said the big issue in Australian ports was safeguarding security, not the individual company running the terminals.
“The big issue is security, its less important who the company is,” Senator O’Brien said yesterday.
“We don’t take issue with the company because of the country of origin,” he said.
It sounds like they have their priorities in order in Australia. This Dubai ports transaction deserves a second look, but it’s not nearly as significant as the issue of the U.S. federal government’s overall investment in port security.