Trump administration forces China to sell the Port of Long Beach

The Trump Administration's Department of Homeland Security has forced China's state-owned Cosco* to sell the Port of Long Beach over security concerns.

China's Cosco Shipping Holdings, which bought out its 75 percent–owned Hong Kong–based Orient Overseas International (OOCL), was forced to sell its Port of Long Beach Container Terminal ownership to Macquarie Infrastructure Partners for $1.78 billion.

The Obama administration had no problems with OOCL signing a 40-year lease with the City of Long Beach in 2012 for control of America's second largest and most automated container handling operation.  The sweetheart deal was part of the "Middle Harbor Redevelopment Program" to fund a $1.5-billion expansion through 2020.

But one of the first major actions of the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security in March 2017 was issuing a "Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S." national security hold on Cosco's acquisition of a former U.S. Navy port facility.

China operates six of the world's ten busiest container ports.  The Chinese government has also funded the construction and operations of 43 ports in 35 countries under its "One Belt and One Road" (OBOR) initiative launched five years ago, according to China's Ministry of Transport.

As part of its efforts to gain asset dominance, China has directed its state-owned companies to exclusively buy products and services from other Chinese state-owned enterprises.  As a result, China International Marine Containers Group has become the world's largest maker of shipping containers and Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries has gained a 70 percent international market share for port cranes, and now exports to 300 ports in 100 countries.

Under the Macquarie acquisition terms, Orient Overseas International will pocket a $1.29 billion profit and still control vessel and rail traffic at the container facilities for the next twenty years.

Correction: An earlier version of this piece misspelled the state-owned 'Cosco' name.

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