U.S. Must Engage Port Operators on Security Issues: Hutchison

The head of Hong Kong's largest port operator has declared that the United States needs to reach out to overseas port operators, rather than to antagonize them, if it hopes to succeed in implementing tougher anti-terror rules. He further asserted that that U.S. outrage over Dubai's DP World's proposed acquisition of several U.S. port facilities had done little to help American security. The Middle Eastern giant purchased British ports operator P&O earlier this year, but it was forced to agree to the subsequent sale of the U.S. operations in the face of a storm of protest that the deal endangered U.S. security.

Critics frequently point to U.S. ports, which are said to be lagging other parts of the world in their efforts to ramp up maritime security. This has become a point of contention in Washington, which has implemented tougher checks for vessels entering its waters in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The Financial Times has reported that U.S. port officials had sought Hutchison's advice regarding screening technology.