Zim offers support to DP World
The head of Israel’s largest liner carrier has again come to the defense of Dubai Ports World, the beleaguered state-owned company that is battling a tidal wave of opposition in the United States to its acquisition of concessions in more than 20 U.S. ports.
In a personal letter to Mohammed Sharaf, DP World’s chief executive officer, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Chairman Idan Ofer expressed support for a business partner the company says provides top service and security for its vessels, crew and cargo.
“I wanted to take a moment to express my complete dismay at the way your fine organization is being pilloried in the United States. As you well know, Zim Israel considers DP World to be one of our closest global allies,” Ofer said.
Edward 'Ted' Bilkey, DP World's chief operating officer, read the letter during Thursday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing after congressmen accused DP World of sanctioning the Arab boycott of Israel. DP World officials have testified that, as a terminal operator, they have no knowledge of the contents of containers moving through the Port of Jebel Ali or other ports.
Another arm of the government, Dubai Customs, technically enforces the boycott, but Zim and most other companies easily circumvent the ban by using third parties to import goods — a practice tacitly condoned by customs officials.
“I sincerely hope this unnecessary political storm will cease so we can all focus on the business of providing the world safe and efficient shipping service. We truly look forward to working with you in the U.S., where I know we will enjoy the same great relationship we have in the rest of the world,” Ofer told Sharaf.
“Until then, I would like to extend an offer to help you and DP World anyway we can.”
The letter received less attention than CNN’s revelation last week that Ofer had written Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to explain that Zim has never experienced any discrimination or security lapses during its relationship with DP World. Shippers’ NewsWire carried Zim’s first public endorsement of DP World’s takeover of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. on Feb. 17.
The appeal from a carrier that maintains some of the tightest security controls in the industry appears to have done little so far to quell opposition in Congress to the DP World sa