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US regulators voice concern at Canadian takeover of Ports America

US regulators have voiced concern at a foreign entity taking over an American terminal operator.

Members of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) have written to the treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, urging her to intervene in the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (CPP Investments) proposed 100% acquisition of Ports America, the largest terminal operator in North America. The FMC cited national security and domestic economy concerns in its argument to keep the Canadians away from the port firm.

“When dealing with strategic infrastructure such as commercial deep-water ports, railroads, airports, telecommunications, or electrical power generation, we as a Nation should be hyper-vigilant when allowing foreign interests to obtain control,” the letter states, pointing out how a similar US port acquisition involving DP World from the Middle East was also eventually vetoed on similar grounds.

On a related matter, the FMC said it was also worried that Canadian Pacific Railroad’s upcoming acquisition of Kansas City Southern railroad could have severe impacts on port competitiveness in the Pacific Northwest.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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