Friday, February 24, 2006

Port Authority sues over Dubai control of NJ port

PHILADELPHIA, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey filed a lawsuit on Friday to stop a United Arab Emirates company from taking over management of its container terminal at Port Newark in New Jersey.

The authority, jointly owned by the states of New York and New Jersey, argued that the deal under which state-owned Dubai Ports World would take over management from the British company P&O violates the terms of P&O's lease.

The transaction is part of a $6.85 billion deal under which DPW would manage terminals at six major U.S. ports. The plan has sparked protests from federal and local lawmakers and officials who fear the ports' security will be hurt if they are managed by a company whose owner has been accused of having links with terrorist groups.

The Port Authority said it has a right to review changes in port management under the existing lease agreement. The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court in Newark, urged the court to declare that the purchase of P&O requires consent of the Port Authority under the lease, that the container terminal is in breach of its lease, and that the lease is terminated.

The suit names P&O Ports North America, and Port Newark Container Terminal LLC as defendants.

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