In an e-mail to American Shipper, Canaveral Port Director John Walsh said he has been notified by the Treasury Department that the concession agreement with Gulftainer is considered a simple lease, not an asset sale, and does not warrant further review on national security grounds.
Port Canaveral and Gulftainer struck a deal in June that gives the company control of terminal operations and future development for up to 35 years. As a precaution, the port authority notified a U.S. government body called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies to make sure they don't pose a security threat.
No concerns have been publicly raised about Gulftainer's role in a U.S. port, but Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., several weeks ago did request the Obama administration scrutinize the deal. The lack of any outcry is likely due to the fact that there do not appear to be any aggrieved parties, and that Gulftainer is not acquiring a company that operates existing marine terminals, as happened when Dubai Ports World was forced to divest its U.S. holdings eight years ago.
(Read more about Port Canaveral's ambitions to grow container business and attract other types of cargo in the magazine's October feature story "Canaveral ready for blastoff," also available in the digital edition and in hard copy.)